KARACHI: Girls wearing Santa Claus costumes wave from the bus on a street on Friday within Christmas celebrations. – AFP
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is likely to ease visa restrictions for visitors from 55 countries, including most European nations, in a bid to regenerate tourism that has been devastated by Islamist violence in the fallout from the 9/11 attacks in america. “We have been reviewing our visa policies. We have been attempting to bring 55 countries right into a visa-free region, which include almost all of the Europe,” Pakistan’s information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told Reuters. This month declared Pakistan safe for travel that employs Portugal, while France in addition has relaxed its advisory on happen to be the South Asian nation “I’m happy our (travel) advisories are changing,” said Chaudhry.
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Potentially restarting tourism has been the most talked about elements of new Prime Minister Imran Khan’s push to generate an Islamic welfare state in Pakistan, but people to the united states complain of a difficult visa process often. Former Real Madrid soccer stars Kaka of Brazil and Portuguese playmaker Luis Figo were recently denied visas to the united states for a promotional visit, Chaudhry said, highlighting the nation’s laborious visa process. “We refused a visa to Figo and Kaka. Can you think that? I called the section officer and he heard about … Kaka,” Chaudhry said, laughing. “Yesterday and gave him a bit of my mind i spoke to the inside secretary.”
Pakistan was last a prominent tourist destination in the 1970s once the “hippie trail” brought Western travellers through the apricot and walnut orchards of the Swat Valley and Kashmir on the solution to India and Nepal.Since that time, a deteriorating security situation and the imposition of a harsh interpretation of Islamic laws has chipped away at the amount of visitors.
Following Pakistan’s participation in the US-led war in Afghanistan following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in New Washington and York, the national country was rocked by way of a decade of regular large-scale militant attacks. Security dramatically has since improved, with militant attacks sharply in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people down. British Airways on Tuesday announced it could resume flights to Pakistan next year following a 10-year absence that followed a significant hotel bombing, becoming the initial Western airline to restart such flights. – Reuters