Kuwait lifts visa restrictions on Pakistanis after six years


KUWAIT CITY: Authorities in Kuwait have decided to lift a six-year-old ban on visas for Pakistani citizens, the state-run APP news agency quoted a news channel as saying.

The decision reportedly came after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took up the matter of visa restrictions with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber al Mubarak al Hamad al Sabah on Tuesday.

The premier insisted that lifting the restrictions would remove a major hurdle for the ‘free movement of the business community’. He informed his Kuwaiti counterpart that Pakistan was an investment-friendly country and an attractive destination for foreign investors, due to its liberal investment policy and high rate of return.

“There are ample opportunities for investors, with 100 per cent equity on joint ventures in Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying by a press release issued by the PM office.

He further said that over 1,000 leading multinational companies were currently successfully operating in various sectors of the economy.

The prime minister said there were a number of energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan that could be considered by foreign investors.

“We would welcome further investments from Kuwait in mega infrastructure and energy projects being undertaken in Pakistan,” he emphasised.

“More than 114,000 Pakistanis live in Kuwait which was evidence of the strong ties existing between the two countries,” he said, adding that it also affirmed the immense importance Pakistan attached to relations with Kuwait.

He said that the Joint Ministerial Commission between the two countries provided the best platform to take stock of bilateral cooperation in various economic sectors and setting new benchmarks to carry this cooperation forward.

Referring to the level of bilateral trade between the two countries, he reiterated that this needed to be further enhanced to its fullest potential.

The prime minister proposed establishing a Pakistan-Kuwait Joint Business Council (JBC) between two apex chambers of commerce to address these issues.

He said there was great potential for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, construction, poultry, livestock and fisheries and to this end meetings of experts of the two countries be held to work out a plan of action.

Nawaz fondly recalled the visit of the Kuwaiti prime minister to Pakistan in November 2013, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

Nawaz also met with Speaker of Kuwait Parliament Marzouq Ali al-Ghanim and stressed the need to strengthen and develop fraternal ties between the two countries through close mutual parliamentary links.

The prime minister suggested that parliamentary relations between the two chambers deserved to be raised to an advanced phase of cooperation that would better reflect the excellent relations between the two sides.

He noted that Pakistan was ready to enhance contact and expand mutual visits to reflect the aspirations of the leaderships and peoples of the two countries.