In an attempt to revive its struggling economy, Pakistan has unveiled a new visa policy to bring international business communities to invest in the nation of Pakistan, promising them significant growth.
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New Visa Rules
This decision to bring in more foreign businesses was reached during a two-day consultation meeting which happened under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), a unique civil-military hybrid body initially established by the former Shehbaz Sharif government to tackle Pakistan’s economic challenges.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, presiding over the fifth apex committee meeting of SIFC, announced this groundbreaking news development via a recorded message.
He revealed that Pakistan had approved a more accessible visa regime for foreign entrepreneurs who are eager to explore business opportunities within the country and want to invest in this developing country.
What will the new visa policy offer?
Under this new policy, foreign businessmen will be granted visas based on a single document issued by their home countries or international business organizations. This will make it much easier for them to get visas as compared to before.
“If Pakistan’s chambers of business or business organizations issue a document to a foreign businessman, easy visas will also be issued to them,” said caretaker Prime Minister Kakar in a meeting.
PM Kakar has expressed hope that under this new visa regime, Pakistan would enter a new phase of business and economy.
In another press conference held alongside other ministers, Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani disclosed that the SIFC also deliberated on Pakistan’s relationships with key global players, including China, the United States, and various Middle Eastern countries. Notably, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have expressed interest in engaging with the investment council to bring more business to Pakistan, boosting its economy.
SIFC Offers New Opportunities for Chinese Investments in Pakistan
Meanwhile, Law Minister Ahmad Irfan Aslam, in an interview with a local newspaper, acknowledged that, unlike the significant investments from China in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Western nations had not yet made definitive commitments to the SIFC. He clarified that the SIFC and CPEC had distinct interests and sectors for Chinese investments.
While CPEC primarily focuses on infrastructure, roads, and energy projects, the SIFC opens doors for Chinese investments in minerals and other sectors beyond the corridor project. This can benefit both the countries.
GCC countries And Their Interests
Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have shown interest in the investment council.
The GCC countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Recently, the World Health Organisation or the WHO issued a travel advisory that warned against travel in Pakistan. This was due to the outbreak of the poliovirus. The travel ban was issued at the meeting of the 2005 International Health Regulations by the Emergency Committee of the WHO.
The travel ban was extended for another three months and the people who are travelling to the country after were advised to be cautious.
Vision Of The PM
Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, said that those businessmen who wish to visit the country will be issued an easy visa based on a single document from international business organizations or from their country.
IT Minister Dr Umar Saif has announced that a nationwide programme would be launched to help 600,000 freelancers who earn $5 to $10 per day. It is estimated that the programme by the government would generate around $3 billion annually, which will really help the current economic problems. He also said that IT companies would be assisted to repatriate their export earnings.
He projected that overseas banks were holding $1 billion of Pakistani freelancers’ money because of repatriation problems. He also claimed that this figure was likely to increase.