Photos have been used for illustration purposes.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
The federal government has extended the validity of visas for foreign nationals living in Pakistan until the end of this month after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interior ministry announced a decision had been taken in connection with the outbreak of the corona virus and as part of the government’s move to reduce the spread of the deadly virus through “any interaction with the wider community.”
It said that the government had decided to approve the validity of all types of visas issued to foreign nationals, who currently reside in Pakistan.
Exceptions will apply to all visas that have expired since March 15 and will expire before April 30. “All such visas will be considered valid until 30 April 2020,” the ministry said.
The Ministry has informed the Foreign Office, the Immigration Department of the Federal Investigation Agency and the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports (IMPASS) about the decision.
Meanwhile, Iran has handed over 118 Pakistani citizens, including 11 women and 32 children, to officials of the Levies in Taftan, Chagai district.
Officials say these nationals live in Iran without valid travel documents and were arrested in various parts of the country by Iranian authorities.
All of them were examined and transferred to the quarantine center in Taftan, near the Pak-Iran border, immediately after their arrival in Pakistan, officials added.
Meanwhile, 21 Pakistani citizens returned from Iran when the immigration permit process was temporarily restored for them at Taftan in Pakistan and Mirjaveh in Iran to help them leave the country.
The 21 Pakistanis from Iran are mostly businessmen and students and were also quarantined after screening for new corona viruses by a health team represented in the city of Taftan, FIA officials said.
For more than 300 Pakistani students studying in Bangladesh under the quota scholarship program of the South Asian Regional Cooperation Association (Saarc), life lately seems to be a never-ending nightmare.
“Previously, I lived in a hostel in Rajshahi and after my student friends from India, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka were evacuated by their respective countries, I was transferred to a hostel in Dhaka,” medical student Rija Hameed said.
Most male and female students say limited access to food in the middle of the lockdown in the country coupled with a fragile Bangladeshi health system makes them nervous. “For days, we live on bread and jam or just biscuits.”