ISLAMABAD: Amid government’s boasting of its efforts in the ongoing evacuation from Kabul, the opposition parties on Saturday expressed concerns over the ‘liberal’ visa policy adopted by the government, fearing infiltration of terrorists in the guise of transit passengers from Afghanistan.
Criticising the government for not taking the parliament and the opposition into confidence on the situation that emerged after the Aug 15 takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, the country’s major opposition parties raised questions over the government’s handling of the situation, stating that no one knows as to who is making decisions in this regard.
The opposition parties expressed concerns following reports that Pakistan was facilitating those Afghans and other foreigners who wanted to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of most parts of the country and disclosure by federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry during a news conference in Karachi that Pakistan had so far evacuated more than 4,400 people from Afghanistan and as many as 27,000 people had entered Pakistan from Chaman and Torkham borders. Dawn reported.
When most of the parties came out with a general reaction, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart Senator Raza Rabbani put specific questions before the government regarding its handling of the situation, particularly its visa policy for those entering the country from Afghanistan.
“It is a matter of concern that the government till date has not taken the people or the parliament into confidence on the rapidly developing Afghan situation,” said Mr Rabbani,
Secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Ahsan Iqbal said the government should keep the “national interest and humanity” in mind while granting visas to the people coming from Afghanistan.
Mr Iqbal, who had served as the interior minister in the PML-N government, said that the government should ensure tracking of those people who had entered Pakistan in transit visas and make sure that they left the country within the specific period. The PML-N leader said there should not be a “refugee exodus” as it would create further crisis for the country. He said it was the duty of the government to seek international support for the refugees as Pakistan would not be able to handle the situation on its own.
Another opposition party, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), also asked the government to provide the particulars of those who had been granted visas to stay for a month in the country.
“On which forum, the government has made the decision to allow 5,000 foreigners to Pakistan?” asked Asif Luqman Qazi, the head of the party’s foreign affairs wing in a statement. News agencies reported.