MOSCOW - Authorities in Russia are planning to cancel visa requirements for visitors from five major Muslim countries, in what appears to be a major development.
The countries under consideration for the relaxation are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Malaysia. The initiative was confirmed on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum when Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said Russia is actively working on removing visa requirements for selected Asian countries.
“We have a rather successful visa regime with quite a few [Asian] countries. This is a very important task and we will continue to implement it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov also said the country has proposed a visa-free travel regime to Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia.
“We are exploring the topic of making the transition to visa-free travels,” Reshetnikov was quoted as saying on Monday.
The minister explained that Moscow was especially looking at countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and has already proposed ending visas for these five countries.
“This is where incremental growth of premium class tourists is possible in particular,” Reshetnikov said.
The development comes weeks after Russia reached an agreement with China when both countries started to allow tour groups visit without visas; Reshetnikov also admitted that the arrangement with China and Iran was not perfect, and the government was working on making it better.
The plan for the Muslim countries is to end the need for tourist visas for citizens from these countries and Russians visiting the five nations.
Travel experts are considering it a big step as the agreement with the countries could help Russia attract more tourists, especially during the summer season.
The initiative is also important against the backdrop of the fact that after the invasion of Ukraine, many Western countries banned Russian planes from their airspace and so Russia might be eyeing to gain soft power through this move.
On the other hand, critics also believe that Russia is not safe because it is close to the Ukraine war zone and there have been reports of drone attacks, explosions, and fires in parts of Western and Southern Russia near the Ukraine border, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Nonetheless, a final decision in this regard is awaited.
Pakistani rupee remains largely stable against the US dollar, and other currencies in the open market on Sunday.
On Sunday, the US dollar was being quoted at 283.4 for buying and 285.95 for selling.
Euro comes down to 307 for buying and 310 for selling. British Pound rate remains unchanged at 358.5 for buying, and 362 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED witnessed slight drop and new rate stands at 77.2 whereas the Saudi Riyal remained stable at 76.
Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
|UK Pound Sterling||GBP||358.5||362|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD||36.37||36.72|
|New Zealand Dollar||NZD||175.33||177.33|
Gold prices decreased in local markets in line with the trend in the international market.
On Sunday, the price of a single tola of 24-karat gold stands at Rs216,300, and 10 grams of 24k gold costs Rs185,450.
Single tola of 22 Karat Gold price costs Rs198,274, 21 karat rate per tola costs Rs189,263 and 18k gold rate is Rs162,225 for each tola.
In the global market, gold prices hovers around $2,004 per ounce, after drop of $23.35 on Sunday.
|Lahore||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Karachi||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Islamabad||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Peshawar||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Quetta||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Sialkot||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Attock||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Gujranwala||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Jehlum||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Multan||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Bahawalpur||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Gujrat||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Nawabshah||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Chakwal||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Hyderabad||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Nowshehra||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Sargodha||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Faisalabad||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Mirpur||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|