Minister raises issue of UK bar on Pakistanis visiting Scotland

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Edinburgh (Scotland), Aug.17 (ANI): A Scottish Government minister is to take the case of Pakistani visitors barred from visiting Scotland to the Home Office.

Michael Russell, the external affairs minister, has written to Home Office minister Phil Woolas asking for a meeting after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) refused to grant visas to a Pakistani pipe band and a business delegation coming to Glasgow.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy had already attempted to resolve the wrangle for the 65 Pakistanis ahead of the World Pipe Band Championships at the weekend.

At the time the UKBA issued a statement saying: "We will make no apology for maintaining tough border controls created to prevent abuse of the immigration system."

Writing to Woolas, Russell said: "The pipe band were due to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow this weekend. It is disappointing that at a time when we are celebrating and strengthening Scotland's business and cultural links with the rest of the world, a trade and government mission from Pakistan have had most of their visa applications refused."

"These incidents have caused widespread concern and received significant media coverage in Scotland and I would be grateful if you could clarify the reasons behind the decisions," he added. (ANI)

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