Pakistan assures safety after Sweden closes embassy over ‘security situation’

Islamabad, Apr 13 (EFE).- Pakistan Thursday assured Sweden of the safety of its diplomatic missions in the country after the Scandinavian nation shut its embassy in Islamabad over the security situation.

The Swedish embassy earlier said it was closing its services for visitors indefinitely.

“Due to the current security situation in Islamabad, the embassy of Sweden is closed for visitors,” the embassy said in a statement.

Pakistan’s foreign secretary Asad Majeed Khan met Swedish ambassador Henrik Persson in Islamabad on Thursday.

Persson told Khan that the closure of the embassy was a temporary measure due to an unforeseen event and would be “rectified soon,” a foreign office statement said.

“He (the ambassador) noted that Pakistani students desirous of applying student visas were being directed to the Swedish Migration Agency,” the ministry’s statement said.

The foreign secretary told Persson that the notice displayed on the embassy’s website was “misleading” as the security situation in Islamabad was normal.

He said the government of Pakistan would continue to ensure the security of all diplomatic missions in Islamabad.

Pakistani students who wish to study in Sweden will be affected the most.

Academic session in Swedish universities starts in August for which visa applications need to be submitted soon as the process takes four to five months, a diplomatic source at the Pakistani foreign ministry told EFE on condition of anonymity.

Pakistan’s embassy in Sweden said many Pakistani students were applying for Swedish universities this year and were asking them about their status.

Apart from students, the Pakistani diaspora living in Sweden would also get affected as they travel home to visit relatives and families, the source said.

“Definitely, the closure will have implications on trade, education, cultural exchanges, and would also have an impact on the country’s image about its current security,” the source added.

In the notification, the embassy did not provide details on the nature of the threats that prompted the decision to shut it down.

In January, protests against Sweden erupted in many Muslim nations, including Pakistan, after a far-right politician burned a copy of the holy Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. EFE


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