Kenya stops visa-free agreement with Pakistan

The Kenyan government has suspended an agreement that allowed visa-free entry for passengers travelling into the country from Pakistan.

This follows the recent spike in the number of persons travelling from Pakistan en-route to Saudi Arabia and other destinations, transiting through Kenya.

In a letter to the High Commission of Pakistan in Nairobi seen by Citizen Digital, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised concern that some of the passengers allowed entry into Kenya from Pakistan have been taking advantage of the visa-free agreement to violate COVID-19 quarantine regulations.

“The Government of Kenya regrets that some of these passengers are taking advantage of Kenya’s status with these countries with regard to the COVID-19 quarantine regulations. This threatens to undermine Kenya’s agreements with these countries which are put in place to ensure continuation of business and travel operations between our countries,” reads the letter in part.

The Ministry further states: “Kenya is hereby stopping the visa-free transit arrangement with Pakistan… Till further notice, Kenya will require visas for passengers from Pakistan to Kenya.”

The government maintains that any passenger from Pakistan who fails to secure a visa before arriving in Kenya will be turned away and required to leave the country immediately upon arrival.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has ordered an immediate crackdown on foreigners who are in the country illegally owing to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho, in a statement issued earlier Wednesday, said the operation will be undertaken by the Department of Immigration and the National Police Service.

The directive comes following the high number of Pakistani nationals spotted in estates in Athi River and Nairobi.

PS Kibicho said majority of the Asian nationals seen in the country have originated from Pakistan and have valid Transit Visas to Saudi Arabia that are issued on arrival.

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