Iranian Business Travelers Get Visa in Pakistani Airports

Over 5,000 Pakistani pilgrims visit Iran's religious spots every month.Over 5,000 Pakistani pilgrims visit Iran's religious spots every month.

Pakistan has started issuing visa on arrival to business travelers from 68 countries, including Iran. 

According to Morad Nemati, Iran’s commercial attaché in the South Asian country, business travelers require an invitation from Pakistani chambers of commerce or trade companies as well as an introduction letter from an Iranian firm to acquire the airport visa. 

“In case businesspeople are unable to provide these documents, they can obtain a letter of recommendation through their country’s trade representatives in Pakistan and present it at the airport,” he said, the official website of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization reported. 

This has been a one-sided move. While Iran issues tourist visa-on-arrivals for citizens of 64 countries, Pakistan is not included in the list. 

Nevertheless, Iran is a favorable travel destination for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis for leisure and religious purposes. 

According to Sardar Muhammad Yousuf, the country’s minister of religious affairs, over 5,000 Pakistani pilgrims visit Iran’s religious spots every month, especially Mashhad, which is Iran’s religious tourism hub.  

Iran aims to boost its tourist inflow from the neighboring country by increasing flights.

A weekly flight to Islamabad from Mashhad in Iran’s northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi was launched by ATA Airlines on Feb. 10 to be the first direct route to the destination from the Iranian religious city, IRNA reported. 

The inaugural flight arrived at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport last Saturday and departed the next day back for Mashhad. 

It is the seventh direct flight between the two countries and a step toward developing religious tourism. 

Earlier in September 2017, Kish Air launched direct flights between the Pakistani capital and Tehran.

Taban Air has been operating twice weekly flights between Lahore and Mashhad since December 2017. Lahore is also a destination for two more direct flights from Mashhad and Tehran, both by Mahan Air.

The Pakistani city of Karachi is also directly linked to Tehran by a direct route operated by Iran Air.

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