In a bid to revitalise its struggling economy, Pakistan has unveiled a new visa policy designed to lure international business communities to invest in the nation. This significant decision was reached during a two-day consultation meeting convened under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), a unique civil-military hybrid body initially established by the former Shehbaz Sharif government to tackle Pakistan’s economic challenges.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, presiding over the fifth apex committee meeting of SIFC, announced this groundbreaking development via a recorded message. He revealed that Pakistan had approved a more accessible visa regime for foreign entrepreneurs eager to explore business opportunities within the country.
What the new visa policy offers?
Under this new policy, foreign businessmen will be granted visas based on a single document issued by their home countries or international business organisations.
“If Pakistan’s chambers of business or business organisations issue a document to a foreign businessman, easy visas will also be issued to them,” the statement quoted caretaker Prime Minister Kakar as saying.
He expressed hope that under this new visa regime, Pakistan would enter a new phase of business and economy.
In a subsequent press conference held alongside other ministers, Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani disclosed that the SIFC also deliberated on Pakistan’s relationships with key global players, including China, the United States, and various Middle Eastern countries. Notably, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have expressed interest in engaging with the investment council.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Ahmad Irfan Aslam, in an interview with Dawn newspaper, acknowledged that, unlike the significant investments from China in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Western nations had not yet made definitive commitments to the SIFC. He clarified that the SIFC and CPEC had distinct scopes and sectors for Chinese investments.
While CPEC primarily focuses on infrastructure, roads, and energy projects, the SIFC opens doors for Chinese investments in minerals and other sectors beyond the corridor project.
(With agency inputs)
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