The 7th meeting of SAARC Immigration Authorities was held in Islamabad to deliberate on the SAARC visa exemption scheme (SVES) and other related issues, with a view to streamlining the processes and to facilitate the business community, cultural representatives and officials from member states availing this facility.
As per the SAARC practice, the meeting elected DG Immigration & Passport of Pakistan, Usman Bajwa as the Chairperson for the meeting.
In his remarks, the DG Immigration & Passports Pakistan welcomed the delegates from member states to Pakistan.
He observed that the SVES was conceived to encourage people-to-people contacts and facilitate mutual exchanges through a liberal visa regime.
He noted that there remain areas within the SVES which require a review to maximise the full potential of the scheme and broadening its scope.
He expressed the hope that the valuable input and recommendations made by the member states would help improve and strengthen the current scheme.
The meeting deliberated on development of security software for the SAARC visa scheme for the purpose of transforming the existing manual system of SAARC visa exemption scheme into an online visa application system, with central database providing all member states with real-time and secure information. -PR