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Fact-Check: Is UAE refusing visas to residents of certain Pakistani cities?

DUBAI – Amid rumours, a Pakistani official in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has rubbished the reports that the Gulf country has stopped issuing visit visas to residents of certain cities of Pakistan.

Multiple unconfirmed reports emerged over the weekend that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was denying visas to residents of Pakistan hailing from cities including Kohat, Abbottabad, Muzaffarabad, Skardu, Larkana, and DG Khan for their alleged involvement in illegal activities. 

When contacted by newsmen, some local travel agents also implied the same and explained that the UAE authorities might have temporarily suspended the issuance of visas for the citizens of certain Pakistani cities as their residents stayed beyond the permitted period in the emirate. 

A Pakistani official has now confirmed to local media that there is no authenticity in the reports as the UAE has not stopped any visa service for Pakistani nationals. 

The official elaborated that the applicants who have submitted complete documents and also meet the visa requirements can expect to receive their visas within a period of 10 to 15 days. 

It bears mentioning that in December last year, rumors swirled on social media that the emirate had started refusing visas to residents of Pakistan hailing from certain cities.

When the reports aired, it was revealed that the restriction was not officially announced, but people with certain cities as their ‘place of birth’ faced hiccups in securing the visit visa for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. 

The travel agents dealing with sending Pakistanis to the United Arab Emirates claimed that people hailing from the following cities as their ‘place of birth’ might not get the UAE visit visa: 

Abbottabad, Attock, Bajaur Agency, Chakwal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu, Hunza, Quetta, Kasur, Kohat, Kotli AJK, Khushab, Kurram Agency, Larkana, Mohmand Agency, Muzaffargarh, Nawabshah, Parachinar, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Skardu and Sukkur.

At that time, the Consul General of the United Arab Emirates in Karachi, H.E Bakheet Ateeq Al Romaithi quashed the impression that visit visas are being denied to people from specific cities of origin. 

‘No ban has been imposed on Pakistani citizens and visas are being issued indiscriminately,’ he told a private TV channel and added that he himself was issuing visas to people belonging to different cities. 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands as the host to approximately 1.7 million Pakistanis, making it the second-largest Pakistani expatriate community globally.

Recent data from the State Bank of Pakistan highlights the substantial economic contributions of this expatriate population.

In the fiscal year 2022, remittances from the UAE to Pakistan amounted to a noteworthy $2555.22 million. This figure underscores the significant presence of Pakistani workers across various sectors in the UAE, ranging from the financial industry to the real estate sector.

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