Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday rejected media reports that Bangladesh halted visas for Pakistanis, but acknowledged delays in issuing visas which he attributed to the Islamabad authorities.
“The reports should have appeared in the media in a reverse way,” he told a press conference at his ministry.
The minister attributed the crisis to Islamabad’s inaction in issuing visas to Bangladeshi diplomats to be posted there.
“We have not stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis, but delays could happen in some cases which are common worldwide,” he said.
Momen said the Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad was exposed to manpower shortage, which was affecting the visa processing, as the Pakistan authorities were delaying issuance of visa for Bangladesh’s newly appointed visa councillor in Islamabad.
Islamabad was not renewing the visa of the officer who was temporarily entrusted with the task of issuing visas, the minister told reporters.
“It is them who exposed us to trouble.... How could we issue visas unless we have our manpower to do that?”
The minister said Dhaka earlier contacted Islamabad and was still communicating with it to resolve the pending visa issues of the Bangladeshi diplomats.
Asked if there was any development over the acceptance of the credentials of Pakistan’s next envoy in Dhaka, Momen said Bangladesh earlier did not accept Islamabad’s proposal for some reasons.
“This is a quite normal phenomenon [in the diplomatic arena]. If they propose a new name, we will definitely consider it,” the minister said.
The Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka does not have an envoy for over a year.