Another Pakistan Senator says he was denied U.S. visa

Hafiz Hamdullah and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the two Pakistani Senators who have been denied a U.S. visa, belong to the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl, the leader of which is Maulana Fazlur Rehman (in the picture).   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Another Pakistani Senator on Monday said his U.S. visa application was turned down without a valid reason, a day after reports said the Senate Deputy Chairman, belonging to the same Islamic party as the legislator, was denied visa to visit New York.

Hafiz Hamdullah said he had to wait in a queue for over four hours inside the U.S. Embassy’s consular section before being told he could not be granted a visa, The Express Tribune reported.

Took place in October

Though the incident dates back to October, just days ahead of the presidential polls in the U.S. on November 8, it comes a day after it was revealed that the Senate Deputy Chairman and secretary general of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri was also denied a U.S. visa.

Maulana Haideri’s visa denial led to the cancellation of his visit to New York for a meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Union at the United Nations on February 13-14. He was to lead a two-member delegation.

“I was not given any reasons. After a four-hour wait, I was simply informed by the visa office that my application could not be entertained,” Mr. Hamdullah said.

Maulana Haideri and Mr. Hamdullah belong to the same JUI-F party.

The JUI-F, headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is a coalition partner of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.

Taliban slant the reason?

Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s party is known to be inclined towards Taliban and critical of U.S. policies in the region. This could be a possible reason behind the visa denials to the politicians.

Maulana Haideri’s case is being linked to the controversial immigration policy of U.S. President Donald Trump. But the case suggests that the policy of strict vetting of visa applicants from religious parties was in place even during the previous Obama administration.

The U.S. embassy did not comment on Mr. Hamdullah’s case, citing ‘privacy laws,’ according to the report.

And there has been no official reaction so far from the Pakistan government or the Foreign Office. The cases have come to light days after a U.S. court refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Those countries, however, did not include Pakistan.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 6:59:30 AM |

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