Govt shelves plan to house evacuated foreigners in big cities.

ISLAMABAD -- Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has shelved its plan of providing temporary stay to a large number of foreigners in big cities following their safe evacuation from war-torn Afghanistan, a senior lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said on Monday.

'The Ministry of Interior has told us in an in-camera briefing that the chapter of providing stay to most of the foreigners, who would come into Pakistan through transit flights, in big cities now stands closed,' said Senator Mohsin Aziz, the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, in an interview to The Nation.

The remarks of the lawmaker came after the Senate panel met in an in-camera session under his chair where it was briefed by the Ministry of Interior, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other government relevant departments on the border management and national security in the wake of takeover of Kabul by Taliban on August 15.

Senator Aziz said that the committee had shown its concerns over the government's plan to provide stay to thousands of foreigners in big cities on the grounds that the move can have serious consequences on the country's national security.

Last week, the federal and provincial governments in Punjab and Karachi had started preparations to provide stay to thousands of foreigners including Afghan nationals in hotels and government buildings and at least sub-campuses of three universities in Lahore had been got vacated for this purpose.

The Islamabad Administration through a notification issued on August 26 had said that reservations in all hotels falling in the jurisdiction of capital may be closed for next 21 days to give stay to those passengers coming from Afghanistan through transition flights.

Senator Aziz said that an additional secretary of the interior ministry in the briefing told them that thousands of foreigners being evacuated from Kabul would now either get Pakistan's transit visas to get connecting flights from the country's airports or they would go to their home countries through other routes. 'The...

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