UAE top diplomat acknowledges visa restrictions on Pakistan

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The United Arab Emirates' top diplomat has publicly recognized a previously unresolved ban on visitors from Pakistan, which travel agencies say also affects tourists and workers from a dozen Muslim-majority countries amid the pandemic and the United States the normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
After meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan stressed "the temporary nature of the recent visa restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak," the UAE state-run WAM news agency reported Sunday .
He did not elaborate on the visa suspension, in which blind-sided expats seek access to the Association of Seven Sheikhs, in which the number of foreigners is almost nine to one higher than that of the locals.
The reported visa restrictions for countries like Lebanon, Kenya, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen came when tourists came to the Persian Gulf country following the normalization agreement with Israeli passports. The Government of the Emirates and Israel have entered into a visa waiver agreement to provide visas to Israeli tourists upon arrival.
Saeed Mohammed, a travel agent at Arabian Nights Tours in Dubai, said Monday that the visa approval rate for families from Pakistan and some other Middle Eastern countries has increased in recent weeks. However, young single men from the countries are being refused entry, leading to speculation that the ban may be linked to security concerns or concerns about visa overshooting.
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