FO bars embassies in EU states from visas issuance to Afghan nationals

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Sunday directed embassies in European countries not to issue visas to Afghan citizens till further orders following the surfacing of an alleged visa scandal.

According to officials, the foreign ministry has issued instructions to all embassies across Europe to stop issuance of visas to Afghan citizens. The action was taken after an alleged scandal of the issuance of Pakistani visas to 1,600 Afghan nationals on fake residential cards of Sweden.

The FO issued the orders to the Pakistani embassies in the United Kingdom (UK), Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Earlier in the day, it was learnt that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an inquiry into the issuance of visas to 1,600 Afghans by a Pakistan mission in Europe on bogus residence cards of Sweden.

According to sources, the Pakistan embassy in Sweden has issued 1,600 visas to Afghan nationals on bogus residence cards.

Hours after the news broke, the FO took notice and ordered an immediate inquiry and asked all Pakistani missions abroad to stop issuing visas of any category to Afghan nationals until further orders.

The foreign ministry has also ordered the cancellation of the visas granted to the Afghans.

‘Pak-US mid-level defence talks from Monday’

The second round of ‘Pakistan-US Mid-Level Defence Dialogue’ is scheduled from February 13-16 in Washington DC.

“Pakistan’s inter-agency delegation, led by the Chief of General Staff, will comprise of senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joint Staff Headquarters and three Services Headquarters.

The US multi-agency team will be represented by the Office of Undersecretary of Defence,” Foreign Office Spokesperson said in a press release on Sunday.

Issues of bilateral defence and security cooperation will be discussed during the defence dialogue, it was added.

The first round of the dialogue was held in Pakistan in January 2021.

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