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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to take up with the Afghan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities the acts of vandalism committed by Afghan spectators after a thrilling Asia Cup match in Sharjah on Wednesday.

The meeting of the committee, chaired by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lodge a strong protest with Afghanistan over the violent behaviour of their country’s cricket fans with Pakistani spectators at the Sharjah cricket stadium after Pakistan defeated the Afghan team.

The committee also directed the MoFA to raise the issue with the UAE authorities to take action against those involved in vandalism and violent attacks on Pakistani fans and revert to the committee with an updated report on the matter.

The officials from the ministry assured the panel of not letting off the issue and that it will be taken up with the concerned authorities. The committee also decided that a resolution to condemn the vandalism of Afghanistan spectators will be drafted and submitted to the Foreign Ministry.

The chairman expressed displeasure over the non-presence of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, as well as, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and directed the ministry to ensure their presence in the next meetings.

The special secretary enlightened the Senate body regarding the announcement of new travel conditions imposed on Pakistanis travelling to the UAE by the Pakistani consulate in Dubai and the deportation of more than 80 Pakistanis from the UAE.

He said that the immigration authorities cited various reasons for their deportation, inter alia including the passengers holding visit visas and had dummy return tickets, they were unable to show enough money to sustain themselves in the UAE and that those passengers came to the UAE for employment purposes; however, they were holding visit visas.

The intervention and request conveyed by the consulate for entry of those holding Pakistani passports and valid visas were denied because of these reasons, adding that the new guidelines are not Pakistan-specific. As per the new guidelines, Pakistanis must have a valid work visa, AED 5,000, and a return ticket when travelling to the UAE, he added.

The chairman committee asked what action has been taken against those agents defaming the name of Pakistan. After talking out the matter, the committee sought a detailed report from the ministry citing action being taken against the culprits and also decided to call the FIA DG in the next meeting.

The matter referred by the chairman Senate and raised by Senator Danesh Kumar regarding “breach of privilege being a member of the Upper House” was also taken up.

The MOFA officials briefed the committee in detail and tendered an apology for the behaviour of the first secretary and Ambassador of Pakistan in Thailand. However, the committee after detailed deliberations termed the apology insufficient and decided to take up this issue in the next meeting by summoning both the officials.

On the subject pertaining to holding two passports by any person/ officials at the same time, the committee summoned the DG immigration and the Ministry of Law in the next meeting to apprise the committee.

According to the chairman as per the law a public official can only keep one passport at the same time.

Senators Saadia Abbasi, Tahir Bizinjo, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, Moulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Faisal Javed, Walid Iqbal, and Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan participated in the meeting while Senator Danesh Kumar showed up as a mover.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Special Secretary Raza Bashir Tarar, Additional Secretary for Asia-Pacific Region Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, and other officials were also in attendance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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