ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sajid Hussain Turi wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the provision of basic facilities to Pakistani pilgrims going to Iraq and Iran.
The Minister also requested to formulate a comprehensive policy for pilgrims which was the need of the hour keeping in view the rising number of devotees visiting the sacred places in Iran and Iraq.
On the occasion of Arbaeen (40 days after Ashura), millions of pilgrims go to Iraq every year to visit the mausoleum of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) where the pilgrims were facing a lot of difficulties in obtaining visas for Iran and Iraq, said Minister Sajid Turi.
“Some people go to Iraq and Iran under the pretext of pilgrimage and do not return home and lived there illegally for the sake of jobs which is totally unfair as it create problems for others.”
The Minister said that the genuine pilgrims were facing difficulties due to such a handful of people.
“It is difficult for the embassies of Iran and Iraq to scrutinize such people. According to the policy, Salar should be obliged to bring all pilgrims back to their homeland otherwise strict legal action should be taken against those who do not bring back pilgrims,” he added. The Iraqi government should lift the ban on visas for pilgrims under the age of 40, Sajid Hussain Turi asserted.
“Discussions should be held on giving multi-entry visas to Pakistani visitors in Iran. Pakistani buses carrying pilgrims should be allowed to enter Iran and Iraq,” Sajid Hussain Turi said. Land route to Iraq through Mehran or Shalimcha border should be restored for Pakistani pilgrims, he urged the Foreign Minister.
Meanwhile, Sajid Hussain Turi was told by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that discussions have been held with the Iranian authorities regarding the multi-entry visa.
“Soon Pakistani pilgrims will be allowed double entry visa of Iran,” Sajid Hussain Turi said. (APP)