AJK govt decides to establish Overseas Facilitation Centers

Our Correspondent

MUZAFFARABAD : The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Friday decided to establish Overseas Facilitation Centers (OFCs) at Lahore and Islamabad International Airports to assist the Kashmiri expatriates’ return to the homeland. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan here on Friday. The meeting decided to immediately provide the requisite staff for the smooth functioning of the OFCs. The state government had already constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Additional Inspector General Police Faheem Ahmed Khan to establish contacts and provide all possible facilitation to the overseas Kashmiris returning to the state. The committee has been further directed to keep regular liaison with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to acquire and share the data of the travelers to overseas desks established at the entry points of relevant district of the state. It was decided to further mobilize the overseas facilitation centers established at the entry points of the state, for which, all required staff would be immediately deputed. Such desks would be responsible for registering the foreign returned persons, families as well sharing their data/information with the relevant District Health Officers (DHOs) and administration. These centers would also provide the necessary guidelines and home quarantine policy of the state government to the foreign returnees. The meeting also decided that COVID-19 tests of the foreign returned persons would be done at their homes. The meeting was told that Overseas Coordinators appointed by the Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan would also keep close liaison with the trace and track committee. It further told that special directives had been issued to the concerned coordinators in this regard. The meeting was briefed that total 27310 foreign returned visited the state since February this year out of which 25,914 were contacted and kept in home isolation for the required period of the time. Addressing on the occasion, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan has said that state government would not add more distress to the overseas Kashmiris on their return to the homeland as they were already suffering due to the pandemic. “They can simply register themselves on arrival and can go home while observing the recommended precautionary measures. The teams of state’s health department would visit their houses for COVID-19 tests. In-case their test is positive, they would be provided complete treatment facilities”, Haider added. The Prime Minister appealed Kashmiri expatriates who intend to return to the state to take all possible care of themselves for the sake of their families and loved ones and don’t mix-up with the people until the result of their coronavirus test. Meanwhile, another meeting presided over by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan reviewed the problems and expected challenges to the tourism industry amid the COVID-19 situation in the state. It decided that necessary planning be made to restore the industry after the decision and issuance of the SOPs by the government of Pakistan. The meeting reviewed the proposed SOPs and decided to take input from the health department as well.