All foreigners to be registered in country: Sheikh Rashid

Rashid says foreigners will be issued special cards to open bank accounts

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed today (Thursday) announced that the government has decided to register all foreigners in Pakistan and would allow them to open bank accounts through a special card.

Talking to journalists in Islamabad, the federal minister asserted that a new ‘alien card’ will be issued to foreign nationals and they will be able to use the card for opening local bank accounts start businesses, obtain sim cards and facilitate their travel.

Sheikh Rashid claimed that some individuals making fake Afghan identity cards had been caught as well. “Our effort will be to register every foreigner amid the currently developing situation in the country,” he added.

The interior minister said that thousands of unidentified people had entered the country in the past 70 years, adding that “we don’t know about their whereabouts”.

He added that foreigners could contact the interior ministry after their visa expires to continue availing these services, adding that all visa applications had been converted online and with the permission of the Cabinet visas are issued within 30 days.

Rashid also addressed border management and said the Torkham border will be reopened for the purpose of vaccinations. “We will soon formalise a plan to rescue 4,000 to 5,000 people stranded at the Torkham border,” he added.

He further said, “Chaman border will be made electronic from the first of August.” Referring to drug smuggling, Rashid said the government was about to take a major step to stop the smuggling of illicit drugs in the country. “Drugs are not smuggled from Pakistan internationally, but from foreign countries to Pakistan,” he claimed.

Responding to a question on the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, he reiterated its case would be forwarded to and decided by the Cabinet this week. Meanwhile, Rashid reiterated that dialogue with India would not be possible until it restored Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) autonomous status.

The interior minister also condemned Indian action in IoK today when Indian troops martyred four Kashmiri youth, and also rejected Indian accusations of Pakistani involvement in recent drone activity in the region.