British Secretary for Home Affairs to visit Pak to sort out visa issues

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Islamabad, Oct.4 (ANI): British Secretary for Home Affairs Alan Johnson would be arriving in Islamabad on Monday (October 5) to meet Pakistan Foreign Ministry officials and reduce tension between both countries that has crept in due to the delay on part of Britain in issuing visas to Pakistanis.

Johnson, accompanied by Defence Secretary Bob Iansworth, would meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and discuss several other issues apart from the visa issue.

Senior Pakistani officials dealing with the issue said that according to an estimate about two hundred thousand passports are lying at the British High Commission in Islamabad for months, as the British authorities have denied issuing visas due to some unexplained reasons.

British High Commissioner to Islamabad, Robert Brinkley, said the delay in issuing visa was a serious issue, but assured that various measures have been taken to address the matter.

When asked about the reason for the delay, a UK Border Agency official said there is a huge backlog that has created the entire problem.

"The matter was further compounded with the introduction of the system where passports were received by the missions in Pakistan, with the applications being processed in Abu Dhabi," the official said.

According to one senior UK Border Agency, the British Commission in Pakistan receives about 2,000 visa applications every week.

He, however, said the backlog would be cleared soon as the several new officials have been recruited.

"Now with the additional staff, we hope to expedite the process," The Dawn quoted the official, as saying. (ANI)

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