UAE's Pakistan Embassy has an open-door policy: Ambassador

Abu Dhabi - The welfare of overseas Pakistanis is a priority for PM Imran Khan, envoy says


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 23 Mar 2021, 2:56 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Mar 2021, 3:14 PM

Pakistani Embassy is striving to address issues faced by the vast expatriate community amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Afzaal Mahmood, Pakistan’s new Ambassador to the UAE, said on Tuesday.

“At the mission, we have an open-door policy. We’ve three tiers of supervision in our consular sections to sort out any issues faced by people,” Mahmood told Khaleej Times.

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Last week, the envoy held an Open House at the embassy to listen to the complaints and suggestions from the community members.

“We value the presence of a large Pakistani diaspora in the UAE. I take pride in serving our nationals,” he said while marking Pakistan Day, which, owing to the raging contagion, was not open to the public.

Mahmood highlighted that by taking all the safety precautions, the embassy remained open, despite the viral outbreak, to assist the general public.

“Some of the embassies, at some stage, decided to reduce their working hours or close the missions temporarily, but we continued to work a full day to support our nationals.”

Mahmood pointed out that the welfare of overseas Pakistanis is a priority for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The PM greatly values the contributions made by overseas Pakistanis,” he said.

The Pakistani government, the Ambassador pointed out, has been offering online Pakistan identity (ID) card, passport, and visa application services, and also issuing foreign exchange remittance cards with certain tax exemptions, reduction in passport fees among other facilities.

“The government is working on more schemes for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis,” he said.

Mahmood appealed to the expatriate community to continue to behave responsibly during the pandemic and set good examples as ambassadors of Pakistan.

“We’ve to follow the standard operating procedures laid down by the UAE government so that everyone stays safe,” he said.

He noted that the community must use social media platforms responsibly.

“Everyone has access to social media. We have to make use of this tool responsibly. So that it doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings,” he added.

Mahmood underlined the community has a role to play in developing bilateral trade ties.

“I’d like the community to support us in the diplomatic assignment. They can put us in contact with the business community so that we’re able to support our nation through trade and investments,” he said.

Mahmood pointed out that Pakistan Day, commemorating the passing of the Lahore Resolution, was a special and emotional day.

“This is a day on which in 1940 our elders decided to demand a separate country for themselves where they could lead their lives according to their aspirations. This day gives us extra energy, courage, and motivation to work hard to further develop our country. And for us in the mission, we get determined every year on this day. Our resolution is how best we can serve our community and country,” he added.

There was also a brief cake-cutting ceremony held as part of the Pakistan Day celebrations.

Photo by Ryan Lim
Photo by Ryan Lim

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