Nisar defends reversal of visa-on-arrival scheme during his tenure


ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar, speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, defended his action as interior minister to reverse the visa-on-arrival scheme and stated that it took him six months to reverse the scheme,, which was in place since the tenure of former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf.

Nisar stated that he faced stiff resistance in the reversal of the scheme when he assumed the charge of the Interior Ministry in 2013. According to Nisar, the bureaucracy was against this move.

Nisar also questioned whether the parliament needs to debate curses hurled on the House or other matters of importance.

We should not deal with national issues through the prism of “opposition and government”, he added.

Earlier, on Wednesday, Shireen Mazari, during the session of the National Assembly, had claimed: “The scheme has been started on American pressure. This step by the government has posed serious threats to the national security,” adding that the scheme had earlier resulted in the US spy agency’s presence in the country.

Responding to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal’s statement in the assembly, Nisar said that he had put a ban on the visa-on-arrival policy, saying it had guaranteed that Pakistan was treated equally.

“Only those countries that allowed visa-on-arrival to Pakistanis had been facilitated,” he said, adding, “If our minister has to go to the embassy to get the visa and if we pay more, the countries we’re facilitating should too.”

These realities, he insisted, must not be politicised.

He said that visa policy had been devised keeping in view the interest of the country. He said that INGOs are working with the federal government, while NGOs are operating under provincial government domain.