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03 March 2010 - Media release

Pakistan becomes first country to grant visa waiver status to INTERPOL passport

LYON, France – Pakistan on Monday became the first of INTERPOL’s 188 member countries to grant visa waiver status to INTERPOL passport holders. The country’s Ministry of Interior said the decision would “ensure fast anti-crime support”.

The move by Pakistani authorities over INTERPOL’s passport will allow INTERPOL passport holders an automatic visa-free 72-hour landing permit on arrival in Pakistan, with the possibility of extensions to the landing permit if required.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble described Pakistan’s decision as “an important step forward” which would enhance security for Pakistan’s citizens as well as international police co-operation.

“INTERPOL passport bearers travel on behalf of the Organization as part of international police co-operation to the country concerned to help prevent or fight crime, or to respond to a disaster. Without lengthy visa procedures INTERPOL teams can be immediately deployed to scenes of terrorist attacks, major crimes or natural disasters, while officials from its National Central Bureaus can more easily cross borders to assist in fugitive extraditions,” Mr Noble said.

Secretary General Noble said that as more countries waived their visa requirements for INTERPOL passport holders, the more effective the organization’s support would become.

“Granting easy travel access to as many INTERPOL member countries as possible is essential so that INTERPOL passport bearers travelling on official police business can carry out their duties in support of member countries concerned as soon as possible.”

“We can therefore only praise this important step forward on INTERPOL’s passport taken by Pakistan’s authorities, since it sets an important precedent for other countries to follow,” concluded the head of INTERPOL as he welcomed the visa waiver decision by Pakistan’s Minister of Interior Rehman Malik.

INTERPOL’s state-of-the-art passport was officially unveiled last October at INTERPOL’s General Assembly in Singapore during which a number of countries, including Pakistan, pledged to recognize the passport as a bona fide travel document.