Business community in Pakistan has expressed its concerns over Chinese visa saying that visas are becoming increasingly difficult to get. Whereas, a rise in Chinese nationals coming to Pakistan in the wake of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being noticed, The Dawn reported. Reportedly, 71,000 Chinese nationals visited Pakistan in 2016, and 27,596 visa extensions were granted in that year, which is up by 41 per cent from a year earlier.
However, it is becoming difficult for Pakistani nationals to get Chinese visas. Moreover, they are granted only single entry visa, that too with the validity period of three months. “The Chinese government should review its policy and grant multiple-entry visas to members of the business community with a validity period of at least one year,” Pakistan Soap Manufacturers Association (PSMA) Chairman Abdullah Zaki said. “Secondly, cumbersome and complex procedures for obtaining a Chinese visa have to be simplified. This will certainly take the existing bilateral trade volume to record-breaking new heights,” he added. As per new Chinese visa regulations, business visitors from Pakistan have to obtain an invitation from a Chinese company before applying for a visa.
Applicants from Pakistan are being told by their counterparts in China that the government has capped the number of invitations to foreign visitors at five per month. “The KCCI has taken up the matter with the Chinese embassy in Islamabad and consulate in Karachi. But they offered little help saying they are only following Beijing policy,” the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Shamim Firpo said.
The CPEC, a 51.5 billion dollar China-led multi-layered infrastructure project, enters Pakistan from China through the Karakoram Highway. Though Gilgit Baltistan plays a key role in the CPEC project and all roads and pipelines crossing into China from Pakistan will run through this mountainous region, there are no plans for any special economic packages to support the people of Gilgit, prompting massive protests against the CPEC from the people of Gilgit Baltistan.