September 7, 2023
ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Embassy in Washington on Wednesday responded to “rumours” of visa refusals to US citizens of Pakistani origin because of their links to the PTI, terming the claims “misinformation and disinformation”.
The issue was raised after recent media reports claimed the Pakistan Embassy had denied visas to American citizens of Pakistani origin on the basis of their association with the PTI, which is led by incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan.
The reports added that some US citizens were also detained in Pakistan for participating in political activities.
The PTI has been facing a crackdown inside Pakistan in the aftermath of the May 9 violence during protests sparked by Imran’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust.
In its rebuttal to reports of visa refusals, the Pakistan Embassy said: “The Embassy dispels any rumours about visa rejections for Pakistani-Americans. The embassy continues to offer seamless visa assistance to Pakistani-Americans and overseas Pakistanis.”
There was no truth to the “rumours about denial of visas to Pakistani-Americans or request for visas being ‘rejected’. This is misinformation and disinformation,” the embassy’s statement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) said.
“Pakistani-Americans and other overseas Pakistanis are most welcome to visit their motherland — Pakistan. The embassy continues to provide every possible consular assistance, including visas, to them.”
The statement further said: “We encourage Pakistani-Americans to visit Pakistan either on their NICOP or get visas, if they so desire, from the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC or from our four consulates general in New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles.
“Besides, visa requests are also processed online 24/7. Therefore, there should be no cause for concern.”
The statement also referred to a press briefing from Tuesday, where the department’s Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel was asked if those US citizens whose visas were rejected approached the State Department.
To that, Patel replied: “I am not aware of this. Obviously, if there are any issues that arise in this area, certainly it would be something for Pakistani consular officials to speak to and not anything that relates to the State Department.
“We will just leave it at that.”