‘Discriminatory treatment’ of Pak tourists in Dubai points to deteriorating ties.
New Delhi: The age-old ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan, which have come under strain in recent times, are deteriorating with every passing day.
Recently, a group of Pakistani tourists and their family members, who were on a sightseeing trip to Dubai, were subjected to “discriminatory treatment” at a roadblock erected by UAE officials after the tourists were found to be violating local rules.
Official sources privy to the deliberations in the Pakistan foreign ministry office, said that these groups of Pakistani tourists were mocked, their cell phones confiscated by the UAE officials, who also made fun of the Pakistan leadership.
The incident, which has come amidst rising friction between the two countries, has caused a great level of concern among officials of the Pakistan foreign ministry. The Pakistan foreign ministry has issued advisories to their missions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, asking them to take this issue seriously.
The ministry has asked Pakistani expatriates to reach out to the mission offices in case they face such issues rather than sharing the same on social media. The ministry has also asked its officials to assure the local Pakistani media, in case they ask probing questions on this incident, that there was nothing to be concerned about.
Pakistanis, the second largest group of foreign residents living in UAE after Indians, have been sending $2 billion every month as remittance to their family back home even in the Covid-19 times.
Ever since its formation in 1971, the UAE has emerged as a major donor of economic and financial assistance to Pakistan. However, the recent incident is among the many that have taken place, signalling the decoupling of UAE-Pakistan ties which began following Pakistan PM’s criticism of the UAE-Israel peace agreement.
Earlier last week, the United Arab Emirates temporarily suspended the issuance of new visas to visitors from Pakistan and 11 other countries. The UAE has also tightened visa norms for Pakistani nationals who wish to travel to the Emirates for employment and has made it more difficult for Pakistanis to renew their resident permits.
The UAE, which has been striving to project itself as a secular-modern Islamic country, has also recently allowed the cohabitation of unmarried couples while decriminalising drinking of alcohol for those above 21 years of age, apart from removing the penalties for possessing or selling alcoholic beverages without an alcohol licence in authorised areas.