ISLAMABAD/ABUDHABI: The United Arab Emirates has halted issuing new visas to Pakistan but has continued issuing visas to India in what is being considered a ‘diplomatic snub’ to Pakistan.
A source from the UAE government briefed Reuters on the temporary ban on visas to Pakistanis saying that there were ‘security concerns’ without delving in to the details of the aforementioned concerns.
Previously, it was thought that the UAE was taking the precaution due to the prevention of COVID-19 but this theory did not hold up in Islamabad circles since India has over 9.2 million cases while Pakistan only has a fraction of the number, at 386,000 cases.
A senior retired diplomat confided to this correspondent that the reason the UAE has halted issuing new visas not only to Pakistan but also to several other Muslim countries could be the growing relations between the UAE and Israel.
Recently, it was learnt that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia in a surreptitious visit which was unable to be kept secret.
This news comes as the UAE started its first passenger flight to Israel, signalling a new future of cooperation and brotherhood between the UAE and Israel.
Saudi Arabia is also expected to ‘warm up’ to Israel after decades of strained relationships.
While the UAE is improving relations with Israel, it has banned issuing new visas to the citizens of Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen for an undefined period.
The UAE government did not respond to Reuters about any exceptions to the ban.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the UAE had halted issuing new visas in a public statement.