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Govt announces foreign travel policy for ministers, government servants

Policy says govt officers will travel abroad only if inevitable; Places ban on officials staying at five-star hotels during foreign tours; Makes sharing all details of foreign tours with Foreign Ministry mandatory

By News Desk

March 18, 2024 04:49 PM


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The cabinet division of the federal government on Monday announced the foreign travel policy for federal, state ministers and government officials, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The policy was announced in the light of decisions taken by the federal cabinet.

As per documents of the policy which 24News has managed to obtain, the government officials will be allowed to travel abroad only, if inevitable. And in case it is not inevitable, permission will have to be sought from the austerity committee.

The policy reads that government officers during their visit abroad would not stay at five-star hotels, while there will be a complete ban on the foreign tours of assistant staff.

It further states that teleconferencing will be preferred during foreign visits.

Under the policy, the official visits of federal and state ministers, advisors and assistants will dependent on permission from the prime minister.

Similarly, secretaries, additional secretaries and in-charge divisions will also have to seek the prime minister’s permission for their foreign tours.

The policy reads that the concerned minister will give permission for the foreign trip of a delegation, comprising officers of grade-20 or above and three members.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will seek the prime minister’s nod for the official visit of a delegation, comprising more than three persons.

Likewise, all details of foreign trips will have to be submitted to the Foreign Ministry.

Under the policy, a ban has been placed on the foreign tour of a minister and the ministry’s secretary at the same time. “However, if necessary, both can travel abroad simultaneously,” reads the policy.

It further states it will be preferred that Pakistan Embassy officials participate in international conferences.

As per the documents, federal and state ministers, advisors and assistants will only be allowed three foreign tours in a year. However, there could be more than three tours depending on the circumstances; these restrictions will, however, not apply to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   

All divisions will be bound to obtain an NOC from the Economic Affairs Division for a visit to international money lending organizations.

The president, the chief justice of Pakistan, chairmen joint chiefs and services chiefs, senators, members of the National Assembly, federal secretaries, additional secretaries and ambassadors will be entitled to first-class travel facilities, while the prime minister, Senate chairman, and National Assembly speaker will be entitled to travel in business class.   

Likewise, the foreign minister, other federal and state ministers would also be entitled to travel in business class.

Officials of the departments allied with the federal government will be able to travel in economy class.

The policy further states that in case of a trip abroad, Pakistan International Airlines will be the first priority.

Under the policy, members of the federal cabinet have been told to avoid travelling both inside and outside the country during the National Assembly or Senate session.

The instructions laid down in the policy forbid ministers and government servants from contacting any state, which does not have ambassadorial ties with Pakistan. “Official and semi-official relations with Taiwan will be in line with the One China Policy.”

Similarly, the policy reads that special permission will have to be sought for making any contact with North Korea.

Likewise, before visiting India, permission will have to be sought from the foreign and interior ministries.  

 

Reporter: Awais Kiani


News Desk


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