New travel policy: Sri Lanka cancels on-arrival visa for Pakistan

Published: June 28, 2014
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FO confirms that there are about 75 families under a 2005 agreement between UNHCR and the Sri Lankan government. PHOTO: FILE

FO confirms that there are about 75 families under a 2005 agreement between UNHCR and the Sri Lankan government. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The Sri Lankan government has cancelled the on-arrival visa facility for Pakistan, citing security reasons as well as an increase in the number of asylum seekers from the country.

The official spokesperson for the foreign ministry confirmed to The Express Tribune on Friday that Colombo had withdrawn the on-arrival visa facilities for Pakistani citizens. The decision, she said, was communicated to Pakistan earlier this month.

Sri Lanka, with whom Pakistan enjoys close ties, was among the few countries which offer on-arrival visa facilities to Pakistani nationals.

A Foreign Office official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the major reason behind the Sri Lankan decision was security concerns and also the rising number of asylum seekers from Pakistan.

According to Sri Lankan media reports, Sri Lankan authorities recently picked up about 1,500 Pakistanis, who were registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). These people, who came to the island nation for asylum, would be deported because of their alleged involvement in anti-state activities in India and Pakistan, reports added.

The FO also confirmed that there are about 75 families under a 2005 agreement between UNHCR and the Sri Lankan government.

But it said the UNHCR and Sri Lankan government was not sharing any information about Pakistani asylum seekers with the Pakistani High Commission in Colombo because of the ‘principle of confidentiality and privacy’ clause applied by the UN commission for refugees.

Pakistani authorities will soon issue new travel guidelines for its nationals intending to travel to Sri Lanka.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Mahela
    Jun 28, 2014 - 4:20AM

    This was a very misguided policy to start with. It has only been rectified for the safety of Sri Lanka. No disrespect intended.

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  • Fakhar
    Jun 28, 2014 - 4:22AM

    We gave a lot of support to Sri Lanka in their civil war. Without our high-tech equipment and training they would have not won. So this is how they repay us.

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  • Humayun
    Jun 28, 2014 - 4:40AM

    Shame on Paki High Commission and GoP for yet another international embaressment. It is really becommig very difficult to work outside Pakistan and manage the business travel especially compared to the Indian colleagues who take easily get multiple entry 6month + visas for South east asia and other countries.

    Is there any possibility to work around in the travel policy for Paki professionals for ease of business travel and save some embaressment aginst Indian colleagues.

    In my personal expereience, green passport has cost me three opportunities and training sessions in Phillipines, Singapore and Indnonesia which were availed by Indian couterpart.

    Hope FO is listening and acting on it.Recommend

  • Bilal Khan
    Jun 28, 2014 - 5:19AM

    Every one wants help from Pakistan to solve issues. once after solving the issues throwing us away. This is not good for those who are taking help.

    Allah will punish them.

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  • pamela
    Jun 28, 2014 - 7:04AM

    Good move by Sr iLanka. They always take care of the interest of their citizens first something India and our media should learn. Pakistan is known to spread terror in every part of the world, they want to nip it in the bud.

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  • ajeet
    Jun 28, 2014 - 7:15AM

    Pakistan has truly achieved strategic depth.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Jun 28, 2014 - 7:34AM

    @Bilal Khan: ” … Every one wants help from Pakistan to solve issues. once after solving the issues throwing us away. … “

    USA used you, Sri Lanka used you. China is using you.

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  • Sri Lankan Friend
    Jun 28, 2014 - 7:48AM

    My Pakistan Friends,

    No argument is that Pakistan is a true friend of Sri Lanka. You helped us during the war. In recent times people appearing to be Pakistani asylum seekers has become a real issue in Sri Lanka.

    Some people come in tourist visas and engage in activities related to religious conversion. I am not saying priests cannot come to Sri Lanka for religious activities but there is an appropriate visa category.

    I hope two governments will collaborate and solve the issue.

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  • AVM Polpot
    Jun 28, 2014 - 8:00AM

    @Bilal Khan: “Allah will punish them”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Sir will Allah also punish those who are misusing the visa on arrival?

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  • Tight Patloon
    Jun 28, 2014 - 8:11AM

    Pakistan and Afghanistan should merge to become one country.then we can teach lesson to endia and srilanka.

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  • turram khan
    Jun 28, 2014 - 8:45AM

    @Fakhar:
    lol live in your dream world.

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  • Virkaul
    Jun 28, 2014 - 8:54AM

    Visa policy normally is reciprocal basis between two countries in addition to security concerns.Pakistan does not offer visa on arrival for business to Sri Lankans. Why should Pakistanis expect from Sri Lanka when they don’t offer it to them?

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  • Kashif Naqvi
    Jun 28, 2014 - 9:40AM

    No surprise here; it was just a matter of time! Does reflect the state we are in.

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  • bahaha
    Jun 28, 2014 - 10:25AM

    you too Brutus!?

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  • Gulkhaiz
    Jun 28, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Srilanka has shown how a country should look after their interest. It is no fault of Lankans, it is the behavior and attitude of our people which has led to this restriction . Moreover which country will allow trouble makers and sick( polio/etc) to enter their country? Only Pakistan . In the name of Jihad our people have provided shelter to all sorts of criminals and killers . Now we have another brand of angels who will put us right.

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  • Khanan
    Jun 28, 2014 - 10:52AM

    There is no need to get sentimental about it. They have all the right to decide what is good for their country. Same way we must see how we can improve ourselves. Let get rid of these terrorists & thugs, these are the maniacs keeping us hostage. We are capable of many good things, trust me we can do it. Because of our own faults & wrong policies Indians are getting advantage but this scenario won’t stay for long.
    I am not saying our running governments are the people at helm of affairs are good & unique, they are corrupt to the core but where you don’t find he corrupts?

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  • N.Sid
    Jun 28, 2014 - 12:30PM

    This is not peculiar to Pakistan. Has withdrawn this service to Indians earlier. Only Singapore and Maldives have this Visa on arrival facility. Cheers.

    http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-01-02/news/305875511visa-fee-visa-on-arrival-facility-passport-holders

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  • Pakistani
    Jun 28, 2014 - 12:36PM

    @ajeet:
    Sri Lanka did this to India two years back. They have stopped issuing Indians Visa on arrival facility much earlier. Sri Lanka is a small country, cannot sustain illegal immigrants in thousands from South India and Pakistan. Did the right Thing.

    Recommend

  • Yusuf
    Jun 28, 2014 - 12:54PM

    I know of one Sri Lankan professional applying at the Dubai consulate who was denied visa because, the visa officer said ‘you cant have friends in Pakistan’

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  • junaid
    Jun 28, 2014 - 1:24PM

    Now a country like sirilanka is showing us eyes. Good job PMLN. Had it been tiger imran khan we would have some self respect left

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  • Mendez
    Jun 28, 2014 - 1:56PM

    @Fakhar:
    What high tech equipment are you talking about ? Pakistan has no tech ..all it does produce is home grown crude arms..it has no money to buy arms as it’s now reduced to the stage of surviving on IMF loans which prohibits using aid money to buy weapons.

    Pakistan has not contributed anything to Sri Lanka … Rather we have invested in your country which. No one else is doing.

    Recommend

  • Jun 28, 2014 - 2:12PM

    Well agree to this…

    We should watch ourselves first before blaming them (Sri Lankans). Why would one take asylum in a country, eat their food, live on their soil and than create problems there by indulging in anti-state acts.

    I remember a story here. There was a scorpion who wanted to cross a river. A turtle came by and offered help. The scorpion sat on his back and turtle helped him cross the river. In the middle, scorpion starting biting him on his shell, and obviously, the turtle didnt feel, but he did ask what was he doing. He said, I am sorry, but this is my nature to bite. Turtle said, well fine, if your nature is to bite, then my nature is to dive. He dipped into the river eventually scorpion died.

    Now you may understand what I just said.

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  • Jun 28, 2014 - 2:44PM

    What is the new policy now? How can one get the visa? by visiting in person or what???Recommend

  • Patriot. N
    Jun 28, 2014 - 3:01PM
  • Expitrate Paki
    Jun 28, 2014 - 3:25PM

    I would say. It is a good move of siri lanka. Every country has right to protect their citizens and economy. Lets support the operation so that we can get rid out of these gumra people (talbn) who are trying to cut pak from rest of the world. I think pak should seek help from international comnunity to help in operation so that ee can remove these people from our land.

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  • T
    Jun 28, 2014 - 3:25PM

    @Mendez: Are you serious my Sri Lankan friend? Have a look at the article below and this is from the indianexpress, not a Pakistani source:

    http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/pak-played-key-role-in-lankas-victory-over-tamil-tigers/467482/

    I have been to alot of places in Sri Lanka as a tourist on my Pakistani passport and love it just like Pakistan but there is a need to realize that we cannot live in isolation. Ofcourse, Pakistan is in a bad situation at the moment but that does not mean that we wipe out history or that the situation will stay the same! We will overcome this inshAllah and no one has a crystal ball to predict what the future might hold. So, I suggest we don’t burn bridges and hope that the Pakistani government tries to improve the situation with their Lankan counterparts.

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  • Anwar
    Jun 28, 2014 - 3:46PM

    The fault is entirely ours. Sri Lanka wants to help us but there are so many Pakistanis who abuse the generosity of Sri Lanka and do not want to come back to Pakistan. What can Sri Lanka do? It is a progressive, peaceful and educated country unlike the illiterate, war-torn and non-progressive nation we live in.

    We have to look at our problem and try to solve them ourself, instead of blaming other governments for our problems.

    Recommend

  • AMR
    Jun 28, 2014 - 4:38PM

    Supporting US war since 2001, our image is only deteriorating and will continue to be, unless we realize our enemies and identify our priorities. forget china take lesson from india.
    when asked for support they said upfront no to US back in 2001, paid US in the same coin after its diplomat episode earlier this year, and still a far better strategic ally for them. …….Had we not supported US then i bet we would have been 100 times better than now …

    Recommend

  • sri lankan
    Jun 28, 2014 - 4:45PM

    Bitter truth is Sri Lankans like Pakistan because Pakistan dislike India. Unfortunately Pakistan is falling at the hands of muslim extremists after toppling its last super leader Gen. Musharaf. I know pakistanis are regretting about it now. We sri lankans from recent past suffer from muslim extremist groups funded by Saudi but channel through fake refugees.especially from Pakistan. We are true friends, please get a non-extremist strong leader and restore its past pride.

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  • Adil Uddin
    Jun 28, 2014 - 5:05PM

    ET , I read it somewhere on Dawn or Colombo Times that the policy has taken place on request of Pakistani government itself, plus in the article it says that asylum seekers were having connections with anti state activities of both India and Pakistan. The asylum seekers were reported to have been misusing the system, but never caused problems to Sri Lankan state, so it’s all about concerns of Pakistani government. Please don’t misguide. Recommend

  • Javed
    Jun 28, 2014 - 5:36PM

    @pamela: have you forgotten the civil war in Srilanka which was initiated by Indian tout Pabhakran and ended by Pakistani forces.

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  • Zaid Hamid Lal topi wala
    Jun 28, 2014 - 7:28PM

    @Bilal Khan: It is surprise news to me. Really!

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  • B
    Jun 28, 2014 - 9:12PM

    @T:
    Read your link again. Indian Express quoted from The News, a Pakistani newspaper. Stop misguiding people.

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  • Mahmood Hussain Khalid
    Jun 28, 2014 - 9:46PM

    Hi fellows, Pakistan is strong enough to survive its hardest time of the history, we are producing very good weapons from bullet to Jet fighters, Pqkistan helped sirilankans or not their high command knows well. This ristriction is only imposed due to the on going tensions between relegious groups and terrorists can come to make situation worst. So its good restriction or another country can go in turmoil again.

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  • Gp65
    Jun 29, 2014 - 1:34AM

    @T: did you actually read the link you quoted? Indian Express is quoting a Pakistani newspaper.
    @Javed:

    Prabhakaran was not an Indian tout as you claim though in early 1980s India did support LTTE. It withdrew that support soon after and in 1987 at the request of Sri Lankan government it sent a peace keeping force to Jaffna which resulted in angry LTTE activists killing Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. To say that it was Pakistan that finished LTTE is laughable. Pakistan does not even have the appetite to address terrorists in Pakistan on a consistent basis. Many people dispwn the war against terror and call it an American war and many others point to the fact that the war has not been won in 7 years so muzakkarat is he onky option. The stamina that Sri Lanka showed for 30 years is absent in Pakistan which wants quick fix.

    Undoubtedly there were many human rights violations by the Sri Lankan army which are indeed a black mark on them but to claim that it was Pakistan that was responsible for Sri Lanka’s victory is beyond absurd.

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  • Ehsan
    Jun 29, 2014 - 1:34PM

    @arijit sharma
    “USA used Pakistan, Srilanka used Pakistan and China is using us”

    Only one reason behind such policy and this is India’s hostility and unaccepting behaviour towards Pakistan ………
    We only accept aid and “bheek” of world powers to neutralize you.
    We will be happy and stop being used when you really accept us.

    Recommend

  • lol
    Jun 29, 2014 - 4:11PM

    What a failed state pak is :)Recommend

  • SAL
    Jun 30, 2014 - 12:44AM

    @Sri Lankan Friend:
    There are Afghans and Indians who obtained fake/stolen Pakistani passports and entered Sri Lanka and started illegal activities there thus brought bad name for Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Naren
    Jun 30, 2014 - 8:36AM

    @SAL: LOL, who says, pakistanis do not have a good sense of humor.

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