RIYADH/DUBAI/ISLAMABAD: Overseas Pakistani labourers and workers have suffered a great deal as Pakistan moves towards the Turkey-Iran-Malaysia bloc, earning the wrath of old Gulf allies, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia in particular.
The UAE had banned the citizens of 13 Muslim majority countries, including Pakistan, from receiving work and visit visas. It was speculated that the ban was a way to help prevent the coronavirus’s spread but this data disproves this theory.
India has 6,833 COVID-19 cases per million but the UAE continues to offer them work and visit visa while Pakistan, a country known for it’s preparedness against the virus has only 1,813 cases per million, however the former ally UAE has blocked visas to Pakistanis in the latest diplomatic snub.
Over a million labourers from Pakistan have found jobs in the UAE during the past five years which has also contributed greatly to Pakistan’s national exchequer in the form of remittances. Pakistan receives over $2 billion monthly remittances, the bulk of which comes from workers from Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Without these remittances, Pakistan risks suffering a current account deficit and low foreign exchange reserves, as well as a depleting value of the Pakistani rupee.
This development comes as UAE begins diplomatic ties with Israel, a highly controversial step in the Muslim world due to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Analysts believe that security could be the real reason why UAE has banned visas to several muslim countries, as well as Pakistan.