In notification, Interior Ministry says extensions being granted in wake of coronavirus pandemic
Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior on Wednesday announced that it was extending the validity of all types of visas issued to foreign nationals currently in Pakistan due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The Competent Authority has been pleased to further extend the validity of all types of visas issued to foreign nationals who are currently in Pakistan for a further period till June 30, 2020,” it said.
Pakistan in March suspended all international flights—barring special flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis in foreign lands and diplomatic and cargo flights—in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. This week, it extended the ongoing suspensions till May 15 with experts believing it might be extended further still.
International travel has been decimated since COVID-19 started spreading globally, with countries shutting down airports, banning incoming flights and cancelling visas in a bid to curb the virus’ spread. While some countries have undertaken special flights to evacuate their citizens from Pakistan, there are others that have yet to do so, leaving thousands in the lurch in case their visas expired.
The interior ministry’s announcement ensures that anyone who is currently in Pakistan has no reason to fear arrest or deportation until the end of June.
Separately, the government has announced that it would reopen NADRA centers to continue offering CNIC services to citizens. Under the reopening plan, only essential staff would be required to appear in office. Additionally, anyone entering the premises would be screened for a fever, and all staff has been required to wear face masks and gloves at all times.
The government has also claimed that the entire center, as well as biometric machines, would be regularly disinfected to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Pakistan has crossed 15,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with at least 350 deaths. Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza has claimed that the situation is under control and movement restrictions can be eased to help the country’s economy recover. Doctors on the front-lines of the fight against COVID-19 have expressed their extreme disagreement.