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Editorial: Visa crises

The issuance of Visa’s for travelling between the two neighbouring countries Afghanistan and Pakistan become the major revenue or main corruption source for diplomatic staffers, security men and their agents. In particular, Pakistan’s diplomatic missions both in Kabul and Jalalabad becoming too notorious as one need to get urgent visa at return of huge payment. And the agents or middle-men have established separate prices for Visa. Ironic to mention that since a long issuance of Visa declared free both Kabul and Islamabad but now the situation is different as “illegal money” is being grabbed through issuance of visa’s. No doubt to mention that there are allegations of bribe in return of issuance of Afghanistan visa at Peshawar and Islamabad but the situation in Kabul and Jalalabad is terrible. In Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions, maximum visa’s are still issued without any fee and bribe as the Afghan diplomats are very cordial, patient and friendly towards people from the host country irrespective of their political and ideological affiliation, lingual and ethnic classification. Approach to Pakistani diplomats in Kabul and Jalalabad is too tough and even impossible. Illegal, immoral and unethical cost of Pakisan’s visa at Kabul and Jalalabad sometimes is much more costly from European and American visa’s. If someone wants to get most urgent visa for Pakistan, he is bound to pay at least 300 US dollars to agents, outside of Pakistan’s embassy at Kabul. Whereas the prices of Visa in Jalalabad is less. But for getting visa’s within one hour to three days the Afghan nationals are bound to pay from 100 to 300 US dollars. And in Jalalabad, price is ranging from RS 5000 to RS 20,000. There is no any visa or travel agent, authorised for collecting Visa application forms by Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and other cities. But in Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif and Heart, the Pakistani diplomatic missions are receiving Visa application forms through agents. And all those who are unable to pay agent’s fee and bribe for the Visa officers are bound to remain in queues. And these helpless visa seekers are assembling late at night before the diplomatic missions. Ironic to mention neither Afghan nor Pakistani authorities bothered about the trend, established by a few individuals for their own nefarious designs which is very harmful to the very “sensitive relations” between the two neighbouring countries. Instead, both the governments in Kabul and Islamabad needs to realise responsibilities otherwise they needs to make arrangements for fixed Visa’s fees along with issuance duration, nature and tenure. Through such steps, both the government could be in a better position to gain something for the exchequers instead of enabling a few individuals to “mint money and fuel tensions between the two neighbouring countries.

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