KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Economic Affairs. Hind Al-Sabeeh, and Ambassador of Pakistan to Kuwait Ghulam Dastgir cut the ceremony’s cake during a reception held on the occasion of Pakistan’s national day at Crowne Plaza Hotel. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: Visa delays for Pakistani nationals in Kuwait is now under serious considerations and this matter will be resolved soon, said Hind Al-Sabeeh, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Economic Affairs.

Speaking with reporters at the Pakistan National Day reception yesterday, Sabeeh said the main subject being deliberated are on the procedural and technical matters being prepared by the Ministry of Interior.

Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Kuwait and one of many issues tackled with the Kuwaiti leadership was the difficulty Pakistani nationals face obtaining family, visit and trade visas to Kuwait.

In 2011, Kuwait suspended all tourism, visit, trade visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The ban was placed due to 'difficult security conditions' in the five countries.

Asked on the plan to establish a refinery in Pakistan, Sabeeh said the issue is under study with the Ministry of Oil and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). "There are talks about it but it is under studying. They are being brought out to the cabinet to determine when the time table would be," she noted. Sabeeh also lauded the Kuwait-Pakistan relations which she said are based on brotherly and mutual respect.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Ambassador to Kuwait Ghulam Dastgir said the government of Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sharif, is committed to realizing the dream of the founding father Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to build a democratic, stable and prosperous Pakistan. "Despite many challenges that it faced for decades, Pakistan has made tremendous progress in terms of socio-economic development.  It is a matter of great satisfaction that Pakistan has emerged victorious and stronger out of many challenges including fight against the menace of terrorism in its ongoing operations," he said.

Pakistan's economy is on the rise, he said, and is poised to become a regional economic power. "All economic indicators are positive and renowned global institutions are projecting that Pakistan will be among top global economies in decades to come. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is considered as a game changer and has the potential to transform the fate of the region in terms of socio-economic development. The mega project, once completed, will usher in prosperity and progress not only in Pakistan but also in the whole region," he added.

On the Pakistani community in Kuwait, Dastgir noted that it plays a very constructive role in the progress and development of Kuwait. "Our community is also very active in social activities. They always come forward to help the less privileged people, which is acknowledged and appreciated by all segments of the society," he concluded.

By Ben Garcia