Pak govt orders immediate inquiry into visa scam

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday ordered an immediate inquiry into a report that some officials of the Foreign Ministry were allegedly involved in a scam for issuing introductory letters to obtain visas for various countries.
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Updated on Jan 25, 2011 12:52 PM IST
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PTI | By, Islamabad

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday ordered an immediate inquiry into a report that some officials of the Foreign Ministry were allegedly involved in a scam for issuing introductory letters to obtain visas for various countries.

A statement from the premier's office said he had taken "serious notice" of reports in a section of the press about the visa scam allegedly involving officials of the protocol wing of the Foreign Ministry.

"The Prime Minister ordered for an immediate inquiry and asked for the report on the issue urgently," the statement said.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier ordered a separate inquiry into the allegations.

The News Daily on Monday quoted its sources as alleging that introductory letters for visas were issued for a few persons who were part of the President and Prime Minister’s entourage for foreign visits.

However, foreign secretary Salman Bashir described the latest media report as part of a "slander campaign against the Foreign Ministry".

In a statement, Bashir said a formal inquiry had been ordered into the allegations and it was "important to sift the allegation from facts".

"However, the insinuations contained in these press reports are neither warranted nor justified and are forcefully refuted," he said.

Bashir added that "it was preposterous to implicate the leadership in the so-called visa scam" as this "only reflects the evident motivations behind these reports".

Besides the internal inquiry, the Foreign Ministry will "take all other appropriate steps in the matter", Bashir said.

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