On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia denied any changes to the visa policy for Pakistani citizens traveling to the Kingdom.
While addressing the media Saudi envoy, Nawaful Malki, said that citizens from around the world, who did not have lawful documents were being forced to leave Saudi Arabia. He clarified that Pakistani’s were not being targeted specifically.
“People holding iqamas and valid visas are not being asked to leave,” he explained.
The fear of Pakistani citizens being deported comes after the UAE’s version of the ‘muslim ban’ on 13 countries, in which Pakistan has also been enlisted. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Somalia have also been included in the Arab Muslim ban. The UAE has stopped the issuance of new visit visas for the citizens of the 13 countries, as a measure to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Until now,1500 Pakistani’s, residing illegally, have been deported by the kingdom. This comes as a result of the Saudi government’s operation against illegal immigrants.
The aviation authority has been instructed by the government of Pakistan to arrange special flights to bring back the deported Pakistanis, who were stranded in the kingdom due to the unavailability of flights.
This crackdown operation on illegal immigrants started back in 2017, and so far 4.5 million illegal immigrants have been deported from the kingdom. This crackdown began in Riyadh and is being mainly carried out against domestic workers who had been hired illegally by employers.
On the other hand, the Saudi ambassador spoke to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and encouraged that both the countries shared historical ties and need to benefit from every opportunity to enhance their bilateral ties.