No visa curbs imposed by USA: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi rejected on Tuesday reports that the United States (US) has imposed visa restrictions against Pakistan.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs took up the issue with Washington. The US embassy [in Pakistan] issued a clarification saying false news reports are being spread,” he said while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, which met in Islamabad with Ehsanullah Tiwana in the chair.
FM Qureshi said the US is going to deport a total of 70 Pakistanis who entered the country with illegal travel documents, adding some of them had gone to the US in the 70s and 80s. He said Pakistan has asked the United States to fulfill legal requirements about the Pakistanis being deported.
About the Afghan peace process, the foreign office said Pakistan is facilitating intra-Afghan dialogue. He informed the body that he will pay a two-day visit to Kuwait on Saturday to meet the Kuwaiti leadership.
Qureshi said he will also give a letter from Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Emir of Kuwait on the visa issue. He said bilateral trade between the two countries will be discussed in the meetings, adding the Emir of Qatar is also expected to visit Pakistan in near future.
Later, talking to the media, the foreign minister expressed concern over tensions 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 a third party hurdle in the form of sanctions against Iran. He said Pakistan is discussing this issue with Iran.
Qureshi 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 hurt Pakistan-China relations.
Earlier, Foreign Office had termed as misleading the media reports about a US Federal Registry notification on introduction of new rules on consular matters.
Foreign Office said there were ongoing discussions between Pakistan and the United States on consular matters including repatriation issues.
The statement said we understand that the US government would continue the normal consular operations at their Embassy in Islamabad and the ongoing discussions would not affect issuance of visas to routine Pakistani applicants. – NNI

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