The UAE has clarified that the visa ban imposed on Pakistani citizens is a temporary one and that it was enforced to stop the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, the UAE had temporarily suspended issuing visit visas to a dozen of Muslim countries, including Pakistan but left-out India.
Alarmed by the announcement, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had visited the UAE to discuss the matter. He met the prime minister as well as the foreign minister during the two-day visit.
In a bid to clear the air, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has “affirmed the depth of the bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, and recalled the keenness of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan on the relations” during their early stages of formation.
Acknowledging the contribution of more than 1.5 million of the Pakistani diaspora, the minister noted in a statement the “temporary nature of the recent restrictions imposed on the issuance of visas due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The statement comes as a relief for Pakistan because it created confusion over whether the ban was applicable to both visiting and work visas. According to The Express Tribune, Pakistan is losing 800 to 1000 jobs daily because of the visa ban.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani media is speculating as to why there is no such ban on people from India, which is recording a higher number of COVID-19 cases than Pakistan.
According to the latest trend, India has recorded 10.1 million COVID-19 cases compared to Pakistan’s 459,000 as of December 21. Pakistani news website The Dawn reported that the country has witnessed a rise in the number of infections and deaths in recent weeks but it has been praised by the World Health Organization for its handling of the crisis.