Dhaka, May 21: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said no directive was given to stop issuing visas to Pakistanis mentioning that Pakistan is yet to grant visa to Bangladesh Counsellor (Consular) to resume his work in Bangladesh‘s Islamabad mission.
“No directive was given to stop issuing visas to Pakistanis. But, some particular persons may not get visas,” he told reporters at his office, UNB reports.
The Foreign Minister said if the Counsellor (Consular) does not get visa and cannot go to Pakistan how visas will be processed. “I don’t know the reasons. I hope, they’ll settle the pending (visa) matters.”
Dr Momen said this is not a big issue and certainly there is no scope to see any strain in relations between Dhaka and Islamabad. “We want friendly relations with all. We hope, the problems will be resolved.”
The minister said they need to look at it how to fix the “sudden gap” that has emerged, and shared that some Bangladesh officers are not given visas.
Pakistan kept visa extension application submitted by Bangladesh diplomat Muhammad Iqbal Hossain, Counsellor (Press) at Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad, pending for over four months.
“As a sign of protest, he (Iqbal) stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis for the last one week,” the diplomat told UNB on Monday, adding that it is not the kind of closure through any official announcement.
Iqbal submitted the application to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 9 last which was sent to its Ministry of Interior two days later but there has been no positive response so far, the official added.
A diplomat in Islamabad said the post of visa officer remained vacant since November last and Iqbal who was looking into the section in addition to his current charge stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis in an apparent protest.
Officials said Iqbal is now living in Islamabad with his daughter while his wife and son are in Dhaka.
On the other hand, his wife and son applied for visas in Pakistan High Commission here but they were not granted visas yet.
“So far we know, the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka called them to the mission to take visas but when they went there they told them to come later after keeping them waiting for over an hour,” another diplomatic source said, adding that it happened thrice to them.
Iqbal’s visa expired on March 30 last and he has already sent the container (his belongings) to Bangladesh on April 27 amid assurance from the Pakistan side that his visa extension application will be approved.
There have been series of meetings and exchange of letters but all efforts went in vain, said a diplomatic source.
The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly proposed Saqlain Syedah as its new High Commissioner to Bangladesh in early March last year which has automatically been rejected.
About the matter, the Foreign Minister said the government will consider it if Pakistan sends a new nomination.
The Foreign Minister also pointed out Pakistan’s repeated interferences in Bangladesh’s internal affairs centering the trial of war criminals for their crimes against humanity committed during the War of Liberation in 1971, which he said, Bangladesh did not like.