20 June, 2021

Selective Skylines

No visas for Pakistanis as the 'hawala kingdom' cleanses itself

Selective Skylines
When Atif Jawad arrived in the bustling emirate of Dubai, one of the seven sheikhdoms which constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he was all set to join an elite group of Pakistani bankers, respected for their business acumen and their ability to straddle two contrary worlds—the Islamic and the western. Headhunted by the head honcho of Emirates Bank International, Dubai's leading bank, Jawad wanted to knock on other doors before taking up the new assignment.

But then September 11 happened, precisely at the time Jawad was mulling over two lucrative offers. When he applied to renew his visit visa—automatically renewed for a fee every month for a period of three months in all—Dubai's immigration authorities turned it down. No explanation was given.

Jawad is among the hundreds of Pakistanis whom the UAE stopped issuing visit visas within a fortnight of September 11. Jawad had to promptly leave Dubai; hundreds of Pakistanis couldn't even enter the UAE. Admitting the ban was in place, the powerful defence minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, had said:...

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