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ISLAMABAD: The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, Zulfikar Bukhari, Thursday dispelled the notion that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) banned issuance of visas to Pakistani workers.

In a tweet, he said that he got in touch with the UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and spoke to him about the issues faced by the Pakistani workforce in the UAE.

Bukhari, in a statement of his own on Twitter, said that contrary to media reports, Minister Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli "categorically stated there is no ban on the export of Pakistani workforce".

Bukhari went on to state that there has been an 11 percent increase in UAE in knowledge workers from Pakistan.

According to the statement, workers, including Pakistanis, laid off due to Covid-19 restrictions, and which were registered on the Virtual Labour Market Database are given priority.

He further stated that "10-year golden visa applications are also being encouraged".

Bukhari thanked Thani Al Hamli for his continued support. "Looking forward to continued collaboration with UAE leadership to address the issues of our diaspora," he added.

However, despite all the claims made by Bukhari, it is a fact that a large number of Pakistanis working in UAE - some of them have businesses and been working there for over three decades - have been deported to the country without citing any reason.

According to reports, majority of these people who have been expelled by the UAE authorities within 72 hours, fearing a "possible revolt" from some Pakistanis after the UAE recognised Israel.

This is pertinent to mention that Pakistanis - anywhere in the world - have always been strongly opposed to recognition of Israel, unless the issue of Palestine is resolved. All Pakistani citizens are unable to travel to Israel as Pakistani passports bear an inscription outlining the invalidity of the passport in regards to Israel.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020