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Sri Lanka cancels on-arrival visa facility for Pakistanis

Updated Jun 27, 2014 06:08pm


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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Sri Lankan government on Friday cancelled the on-arrival visa facility for Pakistanis, DawnNews reported.

Pakistani citizens intending to travel to Sri Lanka have been advised by the government to apply for a visa before taking a flight.

The decision, which was taken in view of the rising number of political asylum cases in Sri Lanka, was officially communicated to Pakistan’s Foreign ministry.

Sri Lankan daily Ceylon Today reported last week that nearly 1,500 Pakistanis, many of whom are registered with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, have been picked up by the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration and the Criminal Investigation Department. According to the newspaper, these people were to be deported because of their alleged involvement in ‘anti-state activities’ in India and Pakistan.

The Foreign Office distanced itself from the reported arrests of registered Pakistani refugees and asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, but aid workers from the island nation have confirmed that Pakistani refugees are being rounded up by the authorities.

Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam was unsympathetic to the plight of the detained refugees in Sri Lanka, saying: “These people [asylum seekers] obtained asylum in Sri Lanka by badmouthing Pakistan. If they are in trouble, I have no idea.”

Earlier, Pakistani nationals were granted on-arrival visas in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka will soon communicate guidelines to Pakistan's High Commission which will state detailed travel requirements.


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Comments (107) Closed

Mirza Jun 27, 2014 05:57pm

Sad News ideed ! only the middle class will suffer yet again, all the politicians and big businessman s normally travel to Europe and US !

Suq Madieq Jun 27, 2014 06:05pm

Sadly even Rwanda and Somalia are now debating about cancelling visa on arrival for Pak citizens. If your passport is green in colour, be prepared for a horrifying experience.

taufeeq Jun 27, 2014 06:11pm

We are paying the price of our policies. Allah ke wastey focuss on education, jobs , social schemes. Reduce defence spending and strengthen your internal security and police force.In pursuit of strategic depth..we have burnt our own house.In the current scenario nobody is ready to be our

Qamar Jun 27, 2014 06:19pm

Sinking deeper and deeper to a new low everyday. Even the third world countries look down upon us.

H L Jun 27, 2014 06:23pm

Pathetic attitude of foreign office.These offices are made to help foreign Pakistanis not to serve the officials personal gains. These remarks are no better then what well known remarks by X- Prime minister of Pakistan on US talk show. " ..... they should leave, who is stopping them?". And the shameless smile after that.

Aslam Butt Jun 27, 2014 06:41pm

Global ranking of Pakistani passport has now officially dropped to 92 from 91, making it second last on the list. Afghanistan is last on Henley Visa Index at 93.

Even African countries has better ranking than our passport.

paki Jun 27, 2014 06:50pm

are there any other good news yet to come in...?

mohamad kaif Jun 27, 2014 06:51pm

more and more countries will do that..if we don't change our ways

Allaisa Jun 27, 2014 06:59pm

Et tu Sri Lanka?

Saad Jun 27, 2014 07:01pm

Surprised, No. Saddened, Yes.

Akram Jun 27, 2014 07:17pm

Obviously, it will be a two-way arrangement I suppose.

Arun Jun 27, 2014 07:23pm

I have to wonder, is the effect of Modi's meeting with the Sri Lanka PM at Modi's inauguration?

Muhammed Ali Jun 27, 2014 07:25pm

Is there anyone that loves us??

Parvez Jun 27, 2014 07:45pm

All gates being closed!! We are being hemmed in.

Wang xing Jun 27, 2014 07:51pm

For god sake stop this dirty politics together with the government try to bring good name and economic development. Remember a stable developed country can bring respect to everyone . Otherwise history will remember u as the super ignorants

Chakra Gaye ? Jun 27, 2014 07:57pm

Pakistani people seeking asylum in Sri Lanka? What next?

Maha Jun 27, 2014 07:57pm

Are we worthy?

BRR Jun 27, 2014 08:02pm

@Muhammed Ali The question is: what have you done of late so that people can love you?

Shanker Jun 27, 2014 08:06pm

The reason for the discontent in Islamic nations has to be addressed. The youth are not employable and are totally at odds with the modern way of life. I hope the Muslim brotherhood is giving this issue some thought.

Aamir Jun 27, 2014 08:14pm

@Muhammed Ali NO. And we have us to blame. No one is going to respect us if we don't amend ourselves and our ways. If I wasn't a Pakistani, I wouldn't love us.

Masoud Jun 27, 2014 08:15pm

This is a good preventive action that should be judged by mind & not heart alone. TTP members & local criminals are in all shape & kind. As a fall out of the current security tightening situation in all probability the criminals might attempt to escape from Pakistan & hide in any safe place. Non issuance of on arrival visa will discourage criminals from attempting to travel to Sri Lanka, a good move indeed.

Danny Jun 27, 2014 08:15pm

We need serious re branding.

Modi Jun 27, 2014 08:15pm

This was to be expected. Wait till the remaining countries with visa-on-arrival facilities for Pakistanis also withdraw this facility. Pakistanis and their Govt. have to make a major effort in re-shaping the society, and their extreme and intolerant views of others sharing this planet.

Md Imran Jun 27, 2014 08:15pm

Very bad decision. A study by EU showed that immigrants from Islamic countries have contributed atleast 12% to EU GDP per year. So its a loss for Sri Lanka.

Sunil Jun 27, 2014 08:20pm

Seems no one wants to live in Pakistan, other than terrorists, and the corrupt politicians.

Allaisa Jun 27, 2014 08:26pm

@Danny Not re-branding but immediate behavioral change.

baby doll main sone di Jun 27, 2014 09:10pm

you know you are in trouble when srilanka visa is not available.

Faisal Shahzad Jun 27, 2014 09:33pm

We should punish Sri Lanka for this action. We helped them during their time of need by providing monetary and military aid.

Syed Jun 27, 2014 09:40pm

One day, even Nigeria will do the same for pakistanis.

Ranjith Jun 27, 2014 09:54pm

Sri Lanka should follow a similar strategy like in many middle eastern countries to only grant visiting and working visas for foreign nationals. Sri Lankan citizenship should be safeguarded only to those that are presently citizens of the country and should not offer citizenship for reasons of business enterprises, spousal, dependant, foreign direct investment or deposits. This will maintain the prevailing population ratios and will not in anyway pave the way for those who are planning to change the population dynamics in Sri Lanka by having a manipulative long-term strategy

MK Jun 27, 2014 10:00pm

Akhan Jun 27, 2014 10:11pm

It is sad that so many of us choose to live away from our motherland.not because they don't love it, because there are some really bad people there. Those who exploit others plunder and kill for whatever reason and the evils thereof

paul adam Jun 27, 2014 10:22pm

this is the sri lanka we helped during their war against LTTE.

fazalpai Jun 27, 2014 10:25pm

Shrinking of friends circle CONTINUES

Rashid Ishaq Jun 27, 2014 10:32pm

Sri Lanka has always been a good friend but due to situaiton in KPK and many other parts of Pakistan, their decision is very valid for their own safety as terrorists can run and hide themselves to SL even

Syed (Australia) Jun 27, 2014 10:36pm

This reflects the foreign policy of our government. Nobody respect our green passport. Shame on our democratic government.

Khalid Jun 27, 2014 10:48pm

There was a time when Sri Lankans used to come to Karachi looking for employement. This was only around 8 years ago. Now, we have been told that we need a visa to go to Sri Lanka. We are going down so fast ony a miracle can save us. I am also very aware that this miracle can not happen in PMLN and PPP governments. I really hope someone like Quaid-E-Azam or Kamal Ataturk comes to our rescue.

ali Jun 27, 2014 11:07pm

I guess Pakistanis with foreign passports will be excused from this new policy and the people with pakistani passports will suffer

hafiz Jun 27, 2014 11:08pm

one more achievement for pakistan

Aziz Jun 27, 2014 11:43pm

Start a new category called 4th world countries. Pakistan can be the king there as the only country in that category.

Fahim Jun 27, 2014 11:45pm

@Muhammed Ali Our military establishment does

Fahim Jun 27, 2014 11:49pm

@Masoud Please they don't need a place to hide outside Karachi

Exhausted Jun 27, 2014 11:55pm

@Rashid Ishaq Its not just terrorists from Fata. Don't forget the two Imran Farooq murderers now in custody of your dear agencies also detoured through Colombo - a safe heaven for many

KRana@Seoul Jun 28, 2014 12:11am

@Md Imran then keep this to hamper economy of other countries

Khalid Jun 28, 2014 12:14am

@Rashid Ishaq Totally agree. Sri Lankans are without a doubt one of the friendliest people on earth and their literacy rate is one of the highest. Having got rid of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, they have finally started making the progress they deserve. How can we blame them for not allowing Pakistanis to enter freely. Good luck to our Sri Lankan friends.

i2t Jun 28, 2014 12:19am

Even friendly SAARC country took this step sign of they no longer trust security apparatus which governs issuance of passport to the right people. Felt proud when visited Sri Lanka and went past SAARC countries passport control while many others were waiting in separate queue. Gone are the days.

Amjad Jun 28, 2014 12:36am

SEAL the boundary of Pakistan from Afghanistan anyway possible before it's too late.

Rev. Eldrick Lal Jun 28, 2014 12:42am

Another blow on the holders of Pakistani Passport. In the future, Pakistani Passport will be good enough only for Pakistan.

Basit Jun 28, 2014 12:50am

Thank you General Zia-UL-Haq, Asif Aardari and Amir-ul-Momeenin Sayeed Mohammad Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif . The Pakistani Nation is standing proud because of your accomplishment in this world. My Allah shower more rahmat on the Pakistani nation as you have been the shining star for the nation.


Frank Jun 28, 2014 12:52am

Thats why please help your community to get rid of Terrorism so that everybody will applaud pakistan.

Frank Jun 28, 2014 12:53am

@Mirza I know its very Sad but why can't pak people dont get rid of Terrorism activities and try to be good nation so that evrybody likes the nation.

VOLT Jun 28, 2014 01:02am

@Md Imran Economy contribution to lanka by Pakistinis????????????? No Thanks. stay in pakistan..

syed Jun 28, 2014 01:33am

a new low, don't blame sri lanka, our actions have led to such results. yeh qaum nahi sudhray gee kabhi

Shahid Pervez Jun 28, 2014 01:40am

@Parvez , When the goings were great we were like wild hungry 'lions' and now when our chips are down we are hungry for 'love'. There is definitely something badly wrong in our perception regarding ourselves and other nations. Things can be rolled back only if we mend our ways.

AJamal Jun 28, 2014 02:29am

Muslims are being massacred in Sri Lanka and putting tighter visa controls shows their fear.

MD Jun 28, 2014 02:29am

Only country Pakistani's don't need visa is for Pakistan.

MD Jun 28, 2014 02:30am

@Mirza Pakistan middle class is suffering in Pakistan. So no need to travel and suffer more.

MD Jun 28, 2014 02:31am

@Suq Madieq Color has nothing to do with travel restrictions. Saudi, Brazil and few other countries have green passports.

MD Jun 28, 2014 02:35am

@ali you so smart....did you came up with this on your own or got help?

John Jun 28, 2014 02:44am

@Muhammed Ali: If you are ready to hear this - NO

John Jun 28, 2014 02:46am

@Md Imran Also account for how much burden did they cause?

event horizon Jun 28, 2014 02:51am

Good step Sri Lanka.

DK Jun 28, 2014 03:12am

Good move, SL!

opinion Jun 28, 2014 03:18am

Who wants to go to Sri Lanka anyway ....

Civi varghese Jun 28, 2014 03:19am

pakistan people are approaching srilanka for political asylum?what a horrible condition!

Whistle Jun 28, 2014 03:54am

@Muhammed Ali

Of course, China. Your all weather friend, till they get what they want.

SaeedS Jun 28, 2014 04:33am

@Syed (Australia) how about terrorism by Muslim brothers . No shame on them?

Paul Jun 28, 2014 04:51am

@Muhammed Ali The Chinese, so long as you play ball with them and let them use you!

krishnan Jun 28, 2014 05:48am

Why all this rona dhona? Even Indians have to take visa on arrival .,Of course it will help if Hafeez Sayeed is sent to Gobi desert.

SL Muslim Jun 28, 2014 06:07am

Good move indeed. It's a known truth that these asylum seekers are playing a major role in destroying the harmony of Sri Lankan Muslims and the majority Buddhists. Pakistan helped SL immensely to end the war against the tamil terrorists but If it looks as if these asylum seekers play a hand in what's happening in the country now they should not be welcomed in the country. Finally SL government has done something more sensible. Hopefully its not a "too late" move.

Leela4fun Jun 28, 2014 06:20am

While the world is going green, please understand that it does not apply to passports. The new paradigm for passports:

Green means STOP.

Waiting to see what action Bhutan and Maldives take for visa restrictions for green passport holders.

Adnan Jun 28, 2014 06:35am

@Chakra Gaye ? Pakistani for Waziristan r going to Afghanistan for better future. That's much more shocking

rama Jun 28, 2014 07:31am

Broader under standing of on arrival visa is that people from those countries are not threat to their peace and security. By holding the on arrival visa , Srilanka demonstrated that it is not believing Pakistan citizens, Pakistan will similar humiliation till it does not change its direction

rama Jun 28, 2014 07:33am

@Muhammed Ali

yes , destruction and evil spirit loves to come to Pakistan

Dr.Shafique Jun 28, 2014 07:46am

@Qamar Being a fourth world country, Pakistan is naturally looked down by third world countries. That is the bitter truth, and yet Pakistanis put up the air that they have descended on earth straight from paradise.

K.A.Muhammad Jun 28, 2014 07:56am

Before commenting on the issue, the foreign office spoke person should have collected necessary information from the Sri- Lanka's Government on these asylum seekers, such as their identification (Political, Ethnic, Sectarian back ground) and the basis of their seeking asylum.

Secondly, as long as these Government Officials (President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Bureaucrats Etc.) have foreign visas endorsed on their passport, they care a hoot for Pakistanis as the Citizens.

How many foreigners have sought asylum in Pakistan by bad mouthing their country of origin? What is the overall general state of affairs (Political, Economical, Social, Educational, Safety and Security to Life and Property) in Pakistan? Did Emirates Airlines claimed damages for diverting its Flight from Islamabad to Lahore by bad mouthing of Pakistanis? Did Emirates Airlines suspended its Flights to Pakistan on bad mouthing of Pakistanis? Did Terrorist attacked Karachi Airport on bad mouthing of Pakistanis?

I shall much appreciate and be obliged if Ms.Tasneem Aslam would like to answer these questions, rather than maintaining total reservation and silence as is the practice of people in power claiming to be peoples servants..

Babar Jun 28, 2014 08:14am

This is De-Grading.

Ahmer Jun 28, 2014 09:03am

The world is moving towards visa free travel, There is no between EU countries. Why should it not be the same among SAARC countries? Modi, Nawaz and other SAARC leaders should work towards that goal without any further delay.

KUMAR SUNIL Jun 28, 2014 09:14am

@Syed We already need visa to go to Nigeria.

vic Jun 28, 2014 10:05am

You pakistanis are forgetting that just yesterday you appointed asma jahangir to persecute the sri lankans.

Mickey Jun 28, 2014 10:22am

A small price to pay for jihad in Kashmir. We need to be faithful to our cause(s).

SLPakistani Jun 28, 2014 10:24am

First of all, though SL offered this facility to Pakistan, it was not reciprocated by Pakistan. Sri Lankans, though relatively easily, had to get visa always before arrival in Pakistan. So it is a gratuitous offer that is now withdrawn. Secondly, No Pakistani is actually seeking asylum in Sri Lanka, their aim is finally to reach more prosperous countries. Sri Lanka which so far offered visa on arrival to Pakistan (the only other country offering this facility to Pakistanis is Thailand) was one the doors opened to those genuinely in trouble and also for those seeking economic asylum. They get registered with the UN agencies and go through a difficult time to make their dream come true. However the main threat does not seem to come from them. It is no secret that many fundamentalist preachers have made use of the opportunity and often overstay their visa. In January 2012, as reported by dawn, 171 of them were deported back to Pakistan. Their influence is being felt now with recent arrests of SL Muslims in Malaysia and India. It is unfortunate that those making life difficult for Pakistanis in Pakistan are doing the same for Pakistanis in other countries. Feel sorry for those for whom a lifeline is shut.

bharat Jun 28, 2014 10:51am


It would be good to do so but there is no peace between our two nations

Feroz Jun 28, 2014 10:51am

@Basit When Foreign Policy is in the hands of the Military, this is what you get. Most Pakistani missions abroad are stuffed with Intelligence operatives not diplomats. These Intelligence operatives in Sri Lanka used Muslims of that country to forment terrorism in India. After two of those were arrested in India on terror charges the Sri Lankan government woke up and revoked the visa policy, sending a clear message. If you take your blinkers off you will clearly see who has placed Pakistan into the sinkhole where it is wallowing.

Masoud Jun 28, 2014 12:13pm

@Suq Madieq

Criticism is easy, What Pakistan had to go through during the last several years & yet it survived is remarkable. Most of the other countries, if subjected to the same scenario would have evaporated by now.

Kamaluddin Jun 28, 2014 12:22pm

@Allaisa : And a whole lot of other countries are joining the 'Et Tu' brigade, as well, not surprisingly.

ajay Jun 28, 2014 01:02pm

@Aamir i appreciate your guts to accept the truth.this is a first step for improvement

Thiru Jun 28, 2014 01:25pm

@Md Imran Wow - reference please.

Thiru Jun 28, 2014 01:30pm

@Ranjith should the world apply the same rule not just to Srilankans but all people outside the West.

Ashraf Gul Jun 28, 2014 02:50pm

@SLPakistani who told you that thailand offers visa on arrival for pakistanis? no such thing. nepal does an so does maldives....not thailand

Thiru Jun 28, 2014 04:43pm

@MK Didn't Musharaf say that about the violated woman who spoke up? politicians are like that everywhere. Also true that most (not all) refugees are economic and they do just that. Mind you the West did not get any visa to loot us all.

Javed Iqbal Jun 28, 2014 06:03pm

Every country has a right to protect its citizens. Srilankan politicians are not like those of our country, blind and corrupt.

Chander Kolhi Jun 28, 2014 06:08pm

When I was returning from World Conference on Youth 2014 at Colombo, Sri Lanka on 11th May, 2014; airport officials stopped me for 30 minutes because of an identification issue in between that an officer told me that Pakistanis specially Ahmadis are coming for asylum in Sri Lanka and their quantity is increasing day by day. He suggested me to request government and human right based agencies to do some thing to stop them coming to Sri Lanka as it is expected that a problem will arise due to it soon.

Omar Jun 28, 2014 10:07pm

The On Arrival Visa Facility has scrapped for all in Sri Lanka since April 2014. Now what they have done everyone has to apply for ETA before you travel to Sri Lanka. If your ETA is approved you will will be allowed to travel to Sri Lanka. It takes approx. 24 hours for confirmation.


Imran Jun 29, 2014 03:56am

What an idiotic statement by foreign office personal that they dont care about the pakistani people who have taken asylum in Srilanka. Due to their activities, Sri lanka has punished the whole pakistan so they should care of the whole issue.

sampa Jun 29, 2014 05:35am

@AJamal This is absolutely true.

Satty Jun 29, 2014 11:23am

@Arun dont you read news paper about ISI involvement in encouraging terrorists to use Srilanka as a base to conducting terror attacked in south india?

Valiya Jun 29, 2014 11:48am

@Ahmer Does you want terrorists move freely in SARC countries? some of the sarc countries are still peaceful and please do not disturb that.

nazir Jun 30, 2014 01:58am


You are right brother. .many are close to eating grass to burn our nuclear candle....somehow our psyche must change..

Kumar Jun 30, 2014 02:05am

@AJamal Just because of your these stupid mentalist,with a cry always Muslims are killed,in other nation,this development.Come on my friend,come out of this and try to be in Humanity,where in your passports are highly valued

Fahad Jun 30, 2014 02:12am

@Basit Seriously......?

Ashiq Ke Rassol Jun 30, 2014 02:18am

Conspiracy against Islam...

Sudarshan Jun 30, 2014 02:05pm

@krishnan Indians are forced for Visa in Sri Lanka due to bitter history between Sri Lankans & Tamils

Dumfuk Jun 30, 2014 03:25pm

@Md Imran

Show us the EU link.

GREATER PAKISTAN Jul 01, 2014 06:09am

@Modi In india even supporting any green sports team, people are harrased and thrown into jail.....yeah we see incrediblr india too...lolz

GREATER PAKISTAN Jul 01, 2014 06:13am

the replies by indians are damn funny as if sri lanka is super power!!!LOLz

F. Jul 02, 2014 10:08am

@SLPakistani Best comment on the thread.