In post-cabinet press conference, information minister says Afghan nationals will not have to pay any visa fees for Pakistan for next three months
Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the establishment of a Rehmatullil Aalamin Authority to project the “true” image of Islam globally in accordance with the teachings of Islam’s Prophet.
Announced over the weekend by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who would also serve as its patron, the RAA would comprise religious scholars from across the world and be responsible for highlighting various aspects of the life of Islam’s Prophet, with a focus on educating youth. Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, in a post-cabinet press conference, said that the initiative was a deliberate attempt to alter the prevailing narrative about Islam internationally.
According to Fawad, the cabinet had also approved the establishment of a special anti-riot unit within the Islamabad police to handle riots and mob violence. He specifically cited protests in the federal capital as having a “negative” impact on Pakistan’s international image, adding that the unit would be trained to handle all forms of protest.
The information minister said the cabinet had decided to allow online visa facility for foreigners working on various projects linked to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, adding that the same facility had been granted to Afghan citizens, who were also exempt from visa processing fees for the next three months. He said this measure was aimed at encouraging the legal entry of Afghan citizens into Pakistan, adding that that the country’s economic situation necessitated the need for assistance to people desiring to visit Pakistan. The cabinet, he said, had also approved the inclusion of Afghan traders into its Business Visa List.
Fawad said the cabinet had granted approval for the renewal of the K-2 Airways’ license, and had also decided to issue license to Air Sial. It had also been decided to reconstitute the PEMRA Council of Complaints, while a demand for Rs. 2.4 billion for a special economic zone had been deferred.
The information minister said the cabinet had, as a matter of routine, reviewed progress on the use of electronic voting machines in the next general elections, as well as the granting of internet voting to overseas Pakistanis.
On the death of nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, Fawad said at least 15 ministers; the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff; the naval chief; and several other government functionaries had attended his funeral in Islamabad. To a question, he said the prime minister—who has not attended a single funeral prayer since coming into office, including those of close, personal friends—had been unable to attend the funeral prayers as he was not in Islamabad.
The information minister said the cabinet had also approved automation of power of attorney for overseas Pakistanis, noting that this would allow people to secure power of attorney online without having to spend time and money to go to embassies for the cumbersome process.