NIAMEY: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday highlighted the difficulties being faced by Pakistani citizens concerning visas for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a meeting with Emirati State Minister Reem Al Hashimi. According to a statement released by the Foreign Office (FO), Qureshi underscored the need to address the issue at the earliest during the meeting held on the sidelines of the 47th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Niamey, Niger. Last week the FO had confirmed that the UAE had suspended issuance of visas to Pakistani nationals among others, saying that the measure appeared to be because of the coronavirus pandemic but that it was seeking further clarity from Emirati authorities.
During today’s meeting with Hashimi, Qureshi also highlighted the close fraternal ties as well as people-to-people contacts between the two countries and stressed Pakistan’s commitment to forge closer cooperation with UAE in diverse fields, the FO statement said. “During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on bilateral cooperation, the Covid-19 situation, Pakistan’s participation in the expo, and other matters of mutual interest.” Appreciating Qureshi’s statement at the CFM, the Emirati minister lauded Pakistan’s initiative to propose an OIC resolution on combating Islam phobia. The two sides also exchanged views on OIC matters and stressed the importance of further strengthening the organisation as a united and pivotal platform for the Muslim ummah, the statement said.
It was also agreed to enhance mutual exchanges to carry forward the process of growing bilateral cooperation, it concluded. UAE suspends visas Last week the FO had confirmed that the UAE had temporarily suspended the issuance of visit visas to a dozen countries, including Pakistan, until further notice.At the time, the FO had said the decision by the UAE authorities was “believed to be related to the second wave of Covid-19” but added that it had reached out to UAE to seek further clarity. The FO had, however, made clear that the suspension did not apply to those already holding valid visas.