US has not imposed any visa restrictions on Pakistan: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD:    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday rejected reports of United States imposing visa restrictions and said the US has not imposed any visa restrictions on Pakistan.
Briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Qureshi said, “The US has not imposed any restrictions. The US embassy has released a press release in this regard.”
He further said, the US has detained illegal Pakistanis that they want to send back. “United States is going to deport over seventy illegal Pakistanis. Pakistan has asked the United States to fulfil legal requirements about the Pakistanis being deported.”
“These Pakistanis will return to the country via a special charter plane tomorrow,” the foreign minister said.
Qureshi continued, “The US has banned visit visa for three officials due to some reasons. These include joint secretary, additional secretary interior and DG passport. This is restriction is not on Pakistan and the clarification for this has been given by both the sides.”
“The foreign ministry will only issue that many visas that the US does,” Qureshi said. “If the US issues visas for five years, then Pakistan will issue it for five years as well.”
Last month the US had issued a warning that it may withhold immigrant and non-immigrant visas of Pakistani citizens in accordance with its updated list of rules.
The Minister informed the Committee that he will pay two-day visit to Kuwait on Saturday and will have meetings with the Kuwaiti leadership.
He said he will also take a letter from Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Emir of Kuwait on visa issue. He said enhancement of bilateral trade will be discussed in the meetings. He said the Emir of Qatar is also expected to visit Pakistan in near future.
Later, talking to media persons, the Foreign Minister expressed concern over tension between Iran and the United States, saying it is impacting the region.
He said Pakistan is closely observing the situation and will formulate a strategy keeping in view the national interest.
He said Pakistan wants to make progress on multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project but there is third party hurdle in the form of sanctions against Iran.
He said Pakistan is discussing this issue with Iran.
The Foreign Minister said Pakistan and China are reviewing the matter of human smuggling and an effective policy will be framed in this regard. He said some forces wants to affect Pakistan-China relations.

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