Conflicts & War

Pakistan bans visas for Afghans in Europe

Islamabad, Feb 13 (EFE).- Pakistan has banned visas to Afghan nationals in Europe after an alleged scam involving hundreds of Afghans obtaining Pakistani visas on fake Swedish residence cards.

A diplomatic source told EFE on Monday that the Pakistan foreign ministry last week issued an order asking its missions in Europe to stop issuing visas to Afghan nationals.

The ministry has emailed the order to diplomatic missions in London, Glasgow, Bradford, Manchester, Birmingham, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Berlin, Frankfort, Lisbon, Athens, Vienna, Berne, Copenhagen, Oslo, Brussels, and The Hague.

“I confirm the ban on issuing visas to Afghan nationals till further orders,” the source told EFE on condition of anonymity, confirming the order seen by EFE.

A Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson said her office was checking the matter with the relevant desk.

According to the diplomat, the decision came because of the visa scandal of issuing visas to 1,600 Afghans on fake residential cards from Sweden.

A letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which went viral on social media last week, indicated that the Pakistan embassy in Sweden had granted 1,600 to Afghan citizens based on fake residence cards.

The foreign ministry has also ordered a probe into the scandal.

As per the communication, the ban will be in place till further order. It is unclear how long it might take.

The latest decision will affect the Afghan nationals living in Europe. They will not be able to meet their relatives living in Pakistan, which hosts nearly three million Afghan refugees.

Before 2016, Afghans could enter neighboring Pakistan without a visa.

But after Pakistan implemented the so-called National Action Plan to curb extremism and terrorism, it was made mandatory for Afghans to get a visa to visit Pakistan.

The Pakistan mission in Kabul used to issue around 1,000 visas per day to Afghan citizens, but the number decreased after the Taliban took over Kabul in August 2021. EFE


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