Wednesday Aug 15 2018

Pakistan envoy upset at refusal of student visas by UK

LONDON: Pakistan’s new high commissioner to the United Kingdom Sahebzada Ahmed Khan has said that he will take up the issue of Pakistani students who aspire to get education in the UK but face extreme difficulties to obtain visas from British high commission.

In an interview, the envoy said that he is aware that thousands of Pakistani students fail to get visas to UK each year despite fulfilling all requirements, but stressed that he will be raising the issue with the UK’s Home Office soon and will advocate the case of Pakistani applicants.

The number of Pakistani students trying to get UK visas for higher education has sharply dropped in the last few years and only a handful of students are able to come to UK varsities. Pakistani students are amongst the biggest victims of UK government’s new visa regulations which have focused on targeting international students.

“Our students face extreme difficulties in obtaining visas for UK. I will be interacting with the UK government to find out the problems to know what the reasons behind mass refusals are. This will be amongst my priorities,” the Pakistani high commissioner said.

Khan said that he will be visiting universities in UK to meet Pakistani students to get to know their problems.

“Nearly 1.5 million Britons are of Pakistani origin, they are the real asset of Pakistan in this country and I will try my best to increase interaction with them. We will be interacting with them not only through our consulates but also directly through the high commission. We will welcome Pakistanis to get in touch with us,” he said.

The high commissioner stressed that Pakistan is a modern, progressive and democratic country and this message will be pushed forward with full dedication. “It’s a fact that Pakistan is a pluralistic and progressive country envisioned by the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.”

He said that many Pakistanis have complained about NADRA’s tracking system which is currently not working. “NADRA’s system is down because of a technical issue. We are trying our best to get this system up and running again. There are many people who cannot travel to Pakistan high commission or consulates, some are bedridden and some just don’t have time. With the NADRA system working, they can track the progress of their applications from home.”

Khan also expressed hope that the direct foreign investment in Pakistan will increase in near future.

“The investors’ confidence in Pakistan is increasing with improvement in the security situation. Currently, there are around 200 UK companies working in Pakistan; we would like to take this number to more than 500 UK companies in the next few years,” he said.

The high commissioner further stated that the law and order situation and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have played a big role in making Pakistan favoured future destination of investors.

He said that the country is heading in the right direction, adding, “There will be peace in the neighbourhood and prosperity will increase in the country in coming years. Everyone today knows that Pakistani is a business destination.

“I have been to the length and breadth of Pakistan in the last two years and law and order situation has improved tremendously,” Khan added.