Kuwait to lift visa ban, says govt on eve of FM’s visit

Kuwait to lift visa ban, says govt on eve of FM’s visit

Gulf state would start issuing work visas to Pakistanis once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, says Sheikh Rashid

Kuwait will lift a ban on work visas for Pakistan, announced Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday as the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister begins his two-day official trip to Islamabad from Thursday.

Kuwait had banned work visas for Pakistan in 2011 and despite attempts by previous governments the restrictions could not be lifted. In March 2017, the then government had also announced the lifting of the ban by Kuwait during the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the oil-rich country. However, the decision was never implemented.

According to the interior minister, Kuwait would start issuing work visas to Pakistanis once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The formal announcement, sources said, is expected during the visit of Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, who would be visiting Pakistan on March 18-19.

He will be accompanied by a delegation comprising senior officials from the Kuwaiti Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Interior, and Trade and Industry, said a foreign office statement.

The statement said the visit of the Kuwaiti foreign minister comes in the backdrop of the bilateral meeting held with Foreign Minister Qureshi on the sidelines of the 47th Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Niamey, Niger, in November 2020. The two foreign ministers agreed to work closely towards further strengthening and expanding bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

To follow-up on the two Foreign Ministers’ understanding, Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs visited Pakistan in January 2021 and held consultations in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and Economic Affairs Division, as well as the Board of Investment.

During the visit, besides having wide-ranging talks with Foreign Minister Qureshi, the Kuwaiti foreign minister will call on other dignitaries.

“Pakistan accords high importance to its fraternal ties with Kuwait, which are firmly rooted in shared faith and values. The bilateral relationship is marked by high-level visits and growing cooperation across myriad fields. During the global pandemic, the two countries collaborated closely in the health sector and food security,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri said in the statement.

He said Pakistan acknowledged the positive role of the Kuwaiti leadership in building bridges among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Pakistan also stands in solidarity with the State of Kuwait in the efforts to strengthen unity among Muslim countries.

The visit of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister will provide further impetus to the positive momentum in bilateral exchanges and deepening mutual cooperation, he added.