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Kuwait to Resume Offering Visas to Pakistanis After 10-Year Gap

by Newsweek Pakistan

Courtesy PID

Following meeting with Kuwaiti prime minister, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed says both family and business visas have been restored

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Sunday announced that Kuwait had decided to resume offering visit visas to Pakistani families and businessmen after a gap of 10 years.

A press release issued after a meeting between Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah and Rashid in Kuwait City—where the interior minister is on an official visit—said that visas for families and businessmen would be restored “immediately.” It said Pakistani workers would also get visas under the agreement, adding that technical visas for Pakistani workers in medical and oil fields had also been discussed. It said Pakistani nationals settled in Gulf countries could also get online visas to visit Kuwait.

According to the press release, the interior minister also delivered to the Kuwaiti prime minister a “special letter” from Prime Minister Imran Khan at the onset of their meeting.

The Gulf state stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis a decade ago at the height of the global war on terror. In addition to Pakistan, citizens of Iran, Syria and Afghanistan were also barred from entering Kuwait. In the ensuing decade, Pakistan has attempted to get the visitation rights restored several times to little effect. In 2017, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif personally appealed for the restoration of visas for Pakistani citizens.

The Interior Ministry’s press release said that Rashid and the Kuwaiti prime minister were joined by Kuwaiti Interior Minister Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kuwait Syed Sajjad Haider. It said that bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting, with the premier saying that relations between the two countries spanned more than seven decades and their people’s relations were based on love and trust.

Rashid thanked the Kuwaiti prime minister for the visa restoration, and claimed that it would boost the job opportunities available for Pakistani citizens in the Gulf. He noted that Pakistani families and businesses had faced enormous problems during the visa ban, and recalled that Pakistani laborers had played an important role in the early development of Kuwait.

The interior minister claimed all Pakistanis considered Kuwait a “second home,” adding that the resumption of visas would increase trade between the two countries.

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