WHILE our Foreign Office is trying to mend its relations with the US and Nato countries, relations have continued to deteriorate with the Middle East. No clear policy has been framed on how to address the woes of expats in these countries, especially Kuwait.
Over the past four years remittances have continued to grow by 28 per cent with the Middle East contributing 55 per cent in the total $13 billion foreign exchange.
From this a sizable portion of 4.4 per cent of total remittances is contributed by expats living in Kuwait.
However, the Kuwait government has adopted strict visa policies without any forewarning or prior notice. There has been a blanket visa ban for Pakistanis for the last two years now.
Owing to this there have been problems as family members cannot visit their relatives in Kuwait, newlyweds are being forced to live apart and even children are not allowed to visit their fathers.
The Pakistani community has large stakes in Kuwait as they have set up businesses over the past 30 years but the space is being continually tightened with opportunities getting scarcer.
President Zardari and former Prime Minister Gilani made visits to Kuwait last year but no breakthrough came forth. I request the Foreign Office to look into the matter as soon as possible and raise the visa policy issue with the Kuwaiti government. We hope the latter would also ease its family-visa policy so that members are able to visit each other in Kuwait.
AISHA KARAMAT Lahore