FIA says ‘Israel’ mistakenly listed among countries allowed to visit Pakistan 

On the FIA website, Israel is now listed as one of seven countries whose citizens would need to undergo special police registration if they visited Pakistan. The other countries are India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nigeria, Somalia and Palestine.
Updated 01 January 2019

FIA says ‘Israel’ mistakenly listed among countries allowed to visit Pakistan 

  • FIA website shows ‘Israel’ among seven countries whose citizens can visit Pakistan
  • FIA’s director for immigration says no change in policy toward ‘Israel’

ISLAMABAD: The director of immigrations at the Federal Investigations Agency said on Tuesday that Pakistan’s Immigration and Passports office had last week “mistakenly” listed ‘Israel’ among the countries whose citizens needed to go through special checks in order to visit Pakistan but that the error was being corrected. 
The appearance of the list on the website was surprising because Pakistan does not recognize ‘the State of Israel’ and there are no diplomatic ties between the two countries. But on the FIA website, Israel is now listed as one of seven countries whose citizens would need to undergo special police registration if they visited Pakistan. The other countries are India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nigeria, Somalia and Palestine.
FIA’s director of immigrations Ismatullah Junejo told Arab News the list was drawn up three years ago and had been “mistakenly” uploaded to the website during the digitization of records. From January 1, he said, it has been removed from the main page.
However, the list was still visible on the FIA’s website on Tuesday evening. 
“With regards to Israel, there can be no change in [Pakistan’s] policy, ever,” Junejo said.
The FIA webpage provides the following instructions to citizens from seven countries, including Israel: “Register yourself with the foreigners’ registration branch of District Police Office (Special Branch) in the city/district of stay and get a Residential Permit for the period of stay. Before departure, don’t forget to surrender the Residential Permit to the same authority and get a Travel Permit.”




The director of immigrations at the Federal Investigations Agency said on Tuesday that Pakistan’s Immigration and Passports office had last week “mistakenly” listed ‘Israel’ among the countries whose citizens needed to go through special checks in order to visit Pakistan but that the error was being corrected. However, the list was still visible on the FIA’s website on Tuesday evening. (Photo courtesy: FIA webpage)

In October, reports that an ‘Israeli’ plane had landed in Pakistan led to media uproar and a near-crisis for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s new government. 
Pakistani authorities rejected the reports as “fake”.
Pakistan has always been a staunch supporter of demands for a Palestinian state. But officials say Pakistan and ‘Israel’ have maintained covert contacts for decades. 
According to an October 2009 US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, the head of Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, said he had contacted Israel officials to head off potential attacks on ‘Israeli’ targets in India. 
The first public talks between Pakistan and ‘Israel’ were held in 2005 during the rule of military leader General Pervez Musharraf. They were described as a “huge breakthrough” by then ‘Israeli’ Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, but sparked fury in the Pakistani public. 


Pakistan opposition draws thousands to capital to protest ruling party’s ‘foreign funds’ case 

Updated 19 January 2021

Pakistan opposition draws thousands to capital to protest ruling party’s ‘foreign funds’ case 

  • The Pakistan Democratic Movement urged the election commission to promptly announce its verdict in the case
  • The interior minister said the opposition alliance failed to attract large number of people to the protest demonstration 

ISLAMABAD: An alliance of Pakistani opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), held a protest rally today, Tuesday, outside the election commission which is hearing a case involving alleged illegal foreign funding for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. 

The case was filed in November 2014 by a founding PTI member, Akbar S Babar, who claimed massive financial irregularities in the handling of foreign funds by the party that amounted to about $3 million. 

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has still not adjudicated the matter, making the PDM leadership criticize it for “the inordinate delay.” 

“Neither is this government elected nor has it any right to rule the country,” the opposition alliance chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said while addressing the participants of the rally in Islamabad. 

He accused the prime minister of contesting the 2018 elections after taking “funds from Israel and India,” adding that the foreign funding case was pending for the last six years even after a revelation by the State Bank of Pakistan that the PTI had 23 “hidden accounts.” 

Rehman said the ECP had held about 150 hearings in the case, noting that the PTI filed 50 applications for its deferment and that the nation was still awaiting the judgment. 

“Some powerful institutions had occupied the election system and brought an incompetent person to power,” he said. “They are now running the government from behind the scenes.” 

Criticizing the ECP, he said: “If this weak election commission provides them [the ruling party] protection, we won’t be able to trust it in the next elections.” 

Rehman said that no country in the world, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, was willing to trust Pakistan due to the government’s “poor foreign policy.” 

“We will continue our struggle [against the government] within the legal and constitutional ambit,” he added. 

The opposition alliance has frequently accused the PTI of coming into power by manipulating the 2018 elections and promised to dislodge through public support. The government denies the charge of election rigging. 

Addressing the protest demonstration, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Sharif also accused the prime minister of getting funds from India and Israel and using for his 2014 sit-in to overthrow an elected government. 

“Do you know who funded him from India? Bharatiya Janata Party member Inder Dosanjh. And the Israeli who funded him was Barry C. Schneps,” she claimed, adding that “countless” such people and companies from Israel and India had funded the PTI. 

Mocking the ruling party’s statement in the foreign funding case in which it blamed its agents in the US for any possible illegal funding, she asked the prime minister should also reveal the names of the “agents who brought you into power.” 

Lambasting the ECP, she said the election commission was “part of the crime of selecting an unqualified person and bringing him to power.” 

Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior leader Faisal Karim Kundi said that the PTI had admitted that its agents accepted the funds from foreign countries and companies. 

“If the agents had done something wrong, it means that the PTI is involved in it,” he said, urging the ECP to give its judgment in the case. “The verdict will prove which enemy countries had funded the PTI,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Islamabad’s local administration had beefed up the federal capital’s security to avert any untoward incident during the opposition’s protest demonstration. It had deployed over 1,800 security personnel to maintain the law and order besides identifying alternate routes to ensure smooth flow of traffic. 

Responding to the opposition’s protest, Federal Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed termed it a “disappointing and poor” show and claimed that the opposition alliance had failed to attract a large number of protesters to its demonstration. 

“We welcome your long march [toward Islamabad] after this today’s show, and that will be your last show [of power],” the minister said, admitting that the opposition had all the right to address public gatherings. 

He also rejected the opposition’s accusations regarding Israel and India. 

“They [the opposition] were given a free hand [to protest outside the ECP], and they have been exposed,” he said. “We are waiting for their long march now.”