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ISLAMABAD: Days after Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed claimed credit for easing Kuwaiti visa restriction for Pakistanis, the Foreign Office put its weight behind its boss - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi - crediting him for paving the way for lifting the decade-old work visa ban to the oil-rich Gulf state.

The Foreign Office issued a statement, on Thursday, to give the credit to Foreign Minister Qureshi for the recent easing of visa restrictions for Pakistani nationals by Kuwait.

"Kuwait has recently agreed to ease visa restrictions for Pakistani nationals, which had been in place since 2011...The foundation for this development was laid during a series of engagements between Foreign Minister Qureshi and his Kuwaiti counterpart. The meetings entailed extensive deliberations on the matter of easing visa restrictions for Pakistani nationals," the statement added.

"Pakistan welcomes the resolution of this long pending matter between the two countries," it added.

In accordance with the commitments reached between the two foreign ministers, it added the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior extended invitation to the Minister of Interior of Pakistan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, to visit Kuwait and formalise lifting of visa restrictions imposed on Pakistani nationals.

Accordingly, the Minister of Interior undertook a visit to the State of Kuwait on 30-31 May 2021 and met his counterpart, Sheikh Thamer Ali Al-Salem.

"The discussions held between the two ministers paved way for development of framework for easing of visa restrictions for Pakistani nationals," it stated.

"Pakistan accords high importance to its fraternal ties with Kuwait, which are firmly rooted in shared faith and values. The bilateral relationship is marked by high-level visits and growing cooperation across myriad of fields," it stated.

During the pandemic, the two countries collaborated closely in the health sector and food security, it further stated.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad had through a tweet announced the development after his meeting with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah and Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in Kuwait City.

Thanking Kuwaiti prime minister, the interior minister said that after the decision of easing the restoration of visas for Pakistani nationals, huge job opportunities would be available for Pakistani citizens in Kuwait.

He said that Pakistani families and business fraternity faced enormous problems with the ban on Kuwaiti visa, adding that Pakistani labourers played an important role in Kuwait's early development.

He said that all Pakistanis considered Kuwait as their second home, adding that with lifting of ban on business visa, trade would also increase between the two countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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