The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned the issuance of recreational visas and work permits to citizens of several countries, including Pakistan.
According to the UAE embassy in Islamabad, the ban is indefinite. This is in view of the second wave of coronavirus.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said in a statement that the UAE was aware of the temporary suspension of issuance of new visit visas to 12 countries, including Pakistan.
He said the suspension would not apply to visas already issued.
The statement added that the move could be related to the second wave of Karuna. He is confirming this with the UAE authorities.
The reason for the changes in visa policy, however, is said to be in view of the second wave of coronavirus. However, diplomatic and political observers are interpreting the process as a chill in relations between Islamabad and the UAE.
If you look at a dozen countries on the sanctions list, they include some smaller countries, as well as Muslim countries that have been critical of Saudi Arabia and the UAE's role in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
According to the list published in the newspapers, the countries that have been banned include Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Kenya, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, Tanzania, Somalia and Pakistan.
India is not on the list of countries on which sanctions have been imposed. It is the second most infected country with 9 million patients. Western countries also have the facility to issue on-arrival visas.
UAE seeks Pakistan's full support in global politics
Analysts say Pakistan's relations with the Gulf states are not as warm as before. This was seen in 2018 when Prime Minister Imran Khan's government was formed.
Tensions in bilateral relations erupted when Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed support for attending the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Summit in Malaysia last year. However, the Prime Minister of Pakistan did not attend the conference due to direct concerns from Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also expressed concerns over the role of the OIC on the Kashmir issue, adding to the already tense relations.
It should be noted that the UAE is seen as a key ally of Saudi Arabia and any diplomatic move by the UAE is likened to Riyadh's resentment or support.
Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas says the corona virus has slowed global economic activity and should not be taken to mean that if Pakistani workers face some difficulties in the Gulf, There is tension in the relationship.
Talking to VOA, Jalil Abbas said that the UAE's visa ban is known to the press but the relations between the two countries are very deep.
Jalil Abbas Jilani says the nature of Pakistan's relations with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is important, as are political and defense agreements, as well as joint diplomacy at the global level.
Analyst Hassan Askari says the UAE, like Saudi Arabia, wants to play a role in global politics or the Gulf. Pakistan is being warned because it is not fully aligned with its policies.
Speaking to VOA, he said that if one looks at the list of sanctions countries, most of them are countries that are an obstacle to increasing the political role in the UAE Gulf or do not support its policy.
Hassan Askari says one of the reasons Saudi Arabia and the UAE are angry with Pakistan is that Islamabad has improved its relations with Qatar.
Allama Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, Pakistan's special assistant to the prime minister on the Middle East, says the UAE's presentation of a visa ban due to the corona virus as a cold seal on relations with Pakistan is an Indian statement.
Talking to VOA, he said that visa ban on Pakistanis is not a political decision of the UAE but these problems have arisen due to corona virus which is being resolved through talks at the level of Foreign Ministry.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that Pakistan's relations with Arab countries have been excellent in recent years, as exemplified by the visit of UAE Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed to Pakistan twice last year.
'Arab allies' resentment adds to financial woes'
It should be noted that Saudi Arabia had given a financial package of ارب 6.2 billion to Pakistan at the end of 2018, which included 3 3 billion in cash aid and ارب 3.2 billion in annual oil and gas payments.
The agreement was renewable for three years. In August, however, Saudi Arabia demanded the return of ارب 1 billion of the ارب 3 billion it had provided, which Pakistan had received from China.
The تین 3 billion annual oil deal is also suspended, and in the last fiscal year, Pakistan received only دو 1.52 billion.
In September, Nadeem Babar, a special aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Petroleum, told VOA that talks were under way to restore the oil deal with Saudi Arabia. The government hopes that with the revised agreement, the resumption of oil supplies from the Islamic Brotherhood will begin soon.
Pakistan, which is facing financial difficulties, has to repay the remaining قرض 2 billion to Saudi Arabia by next month. The UAE also has to pay ارب 2 billion at the beginning of next year.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for the Middle East Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi says Pakistan has to pay عرب 2 billion to Saudi Arabia in December, which is being negotiated with a friendly country.
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