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Pakistan leading world in visa facilitation, evacuations from Afghanistan: Sadiq

By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan is making utmost efforts to facilitate the interim Afghan government and the local Afghans in all sectors, it has evacuated around 92,000 people from Afghanistan post-August 15, and issues the most number of visas to the Afghans as compared to the rest of the world during this time.

These remarks were made by Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan while speaking with the members of the Pakistan Afghanistan Core Committee during their ninth meeting, organized by CRSS as part of its track 1.5/2 initiative Beyond Boundaries.

Addressing the Afghan participants, Sadiq stated that the Pakistani government has started free COVID-19 vaccination for the incoming Afghans. Around 3,000 vaccines are being administered daily on Torkham and around 8,000 at Chaman. Pakistan is also reaching out to the international community to assist Afghans as economic sanctions will result in economic disaster and further brain drain in Afghanistan. Pakistan is having several discussions with Afghanistan to initiate barter trade between both countries. Pakistan is willing to train Afghan doctors and paramedics to cope with the current health challenges.

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Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq added apart from these CBMs, in order to resolve the problems faced by Afghans at border crossing points, it is essential to explore the underlying reasons and mitigate them.

While promising to resolve the issues impending Afghans’ travel to Pakistan, he urged the locals to cooperate with Pakistani officials in order to make their travel easy and smooth.

Members of the committee put forth many recommendations to Sadiq, and to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Establishment Arbab Shahzad. In order to help Afghan people, the international community needs to find a transitional assistance mechanism to circumvent the issue of recognition of the Taliban regime.

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Similarly, find a transitional framework to regulate Afghanistan’s trade and transit trade and link it with humanitarian assistance.

The international community should support Pakistan to devise a system of health cover for visiting Afghans based on and utilizing its existing health card system’s infrastructure in place for its own citizens.

The meeting was also attended by Members of National Assembly Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Shandana Gulzar, Nafisa Khattak from Pakistan, and Members of Parliament Gul Ahmad Kamin, Gulalai Mohammadi, co-chairman PAJCCI Mr. Khan Jan Alokozai, and President ACCI Mr. Yunus Momand from Afghanistan among other prominent people.

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