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News Analysis

The government of Kuwait on Tuesday decided to lift visa-ban over Pakistani applicants. The decision came in the wake of a meeting between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

It also represents a rare occasion of direct diplomacy by PM Nawaz Sharif – who also happens to be Pakistan’s foreign minister. For past four years, Pakistan, a country facing some of the toughest foreign policy challenges in the region and the world, does not have a full time foreign minister.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is on an official visit to Kuwait with his delegation. One day earlier, PM Nawaz, while meeting a delegation of Pakistanis in Kuwait, had mentioned that he will take up the issue of visa ban for Pakistanis. He pointed out, to Pakistani delegation, that he was returning to Kuwait after full 26 years. Last time he was here when Kuwait faced Iraqi aggression and his government had stood with Kuwaiti people. He argued that good relations deteriorated when his policies were not followed by his successors.

Read Also: PM Nawaz to take up visa curbs with Kuwaiti Amir, The Nation

This assertion was an amazing political spin by PM Nawaz, since his second government, (1997-99) was overthrown by Gen. Musharraf in Oct 1999, and “visa restrictions” upon Pakistanis, by Kuwait, were only placed in 2011, almost 12 years later, along with few other countries. This was a time when Pakistan (ruled by PPP in Centre and his party in Punjab) faced unprecedented attacks by terrorists – operating from FATA and in Karachi. Situation only improved when Pakistan army under Gen. Raheel Sharif and his team took the initiative popularly known as Zarb-e-Azb. And PM Nawaz took the initiative of taking up the issue with Kuwaiti government only in 2017, almost four year after becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the third time.

Attacks on Electricity Offices?

This assertion was an amazing political spin by PM Nawaz, since his second government, (1997-99) was overthrown by Gen. Musharraf in Oct 1999, and “visa restrictions” upon Pakistanis, by Kuwait, were only placed in 2011, almost 12 years later,

Pakistan and Kuwait are now intending to increase cooperation in five different fields including trade, energy, and infrastructure. PM Nawaz talked of the progress Pakistan has made under his government. He mentioned that load shedding of more than 10 hours was normal during the rule by his predecessors, and people used to burn types on roads and attacked electricity offices, but now situation has much improved.

PM conveniently ignored that most of such attacks on WAPDA or electricity offices, between 2008 and 2013, had taken place in Punjab which was ruled by his party, PMLN and electricity offices belonged to federal government. And it was felt in Islamabad that Punjab government had encouraged such violent  venting of frustration by public. Punjab Police often did nothing to prevent such vandalism. However soon after assuming federal government in June 2013, Punjab police meted out harsh treatment to all such protestors – breaking into their homes in at least one Punjab city.

 

Read more: While Indians & Bangladeshis replace Pakistani workers in Gulf countries government of Pakistan sleeps!

Kuwait imposed the visa-ban on 5 countries, including Pakistan, six years ago due to ‘difficult security condition’

Prime Minister Sharif also met with members of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and announced to establish a joint council for business.

Kuwait imposed the visa-ban on 5 countries, including Pakistan, six years ago due to their ‘difficult security conditions’. After the launch of military operation – Zarb e Azb – against terrorists, the overall security situation in the country has improved. Current lift on visa-ban by Kuwait indicates increasing trust of the international community over Pakistan’s improved security situation.

PM conveniently ignored that most of such attacks on WAPDA or electricity offices, between 2008 and 2013, had taken place in Punjab which was ruled by his party, PMLN and electricity offices belonged to federal government.

It also represents a rare occasion of direct diplomacy by PM Nawaz Sharif – who also happens to be Pakistan’s foreign minister. For past four years, Pakistan, a country facing some of the toughest foreign policy challenges in the region and the world, does not have a full time foreign minister. Opposition and media have endlessly condemned PM Nawaz Sharif on this and demanded the appointment of a full time foreign minister but to no avail.

Oil enriched country, Kuwait, is one of the richest economies in the world. Thousands of Pakistanis are working in various fields in Kuwait. Lift on travel ban will open up new opportunities for Pakistanis outside the country, and will lift the morale of Pakistanis working all across GCC countries.

1 COMMENT

  1. I had been in Kuwait appointed in MOD, 2nd August 199o when Iraq attacked at Mid night, it was Thursday,the weekly holiday, Most of military establishments were ransacked, foreigners were not duty, most of them fled away, in desert to KSA, rest after staying few weeks, were told to evacuate it. Pakistanis were about 70 thousands, who had long travel via Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Iran did not give way via Shat al- Ar . Turkey also stopped at Zakhu entry point to Turkey. We had wait of twenty days there and after Pakistani Govt, to make arrangement via Iran to Pakistan.
    The ordeal of journey never forgotten, so many met with deaths, Kuwait was captured within two hours with no resistance from Kuwaiti armed forces. Pakistan was the country which provided expertise to Kuwaiti armed forces with practical OJT . Pakistan’s efforts were there during War 1990 with Iraq, in Pakistan, people were against US and its allied forces, to attack on Iraq but Govt. did not bother for Iraq’s help. Kuwait’s policy is from the very beginning is Western Countries support and with its allied forces, Kuwait was recovered.
    Present Pakistan’s policy was not appreciated due to terrorism spread in the country. So, ban on Pakistanis’ visa was must, now with efforts of Armed forces, situation is improved.

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