South African cricketer and World XI squad member Imran Tahir ─ who is due to play the Independence Cup series in Lahore this month ─ accused the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham of "humiliating" him and his family when they attempted to apply for a visa to travel here.
"Me and my family were humiliated and expelled from the Pak High Commission earlier today when I went to get a visa to play the World XI in Pakistan," he tweeted on Tuesday.
Tahir, a cricketer of Pakistani origin, said he had visited the consulate to obtain Pakistani visas for himself and his family members but had to endure a "traumatic" five-hour wait after which he was "expelled by the staff explaining that the office hours are over and they are closing the consulate".
"It was only after the intervention of [Pakistan] High Commissioner Ibn-e-Abbas who instructed the staff that we were issued visas," he said. "It's an irony that being Pakistani origin South African cricketer and intending to play in World XI [I] was treated so miserably."
The Pakistan High Commission in London clarified that Tahir was assisted by consulate staff and the issue had occurred because the cricketer and his family members held South African passports which required "additional processes".
The high commission also added that "the time taken in issuing visas was due to non-filling out of four applications, non-availability of supporting documents and additional processing required in respect of visas for holders of a third country".
"The visa applications are handled by Gerry’s but, as a special case, his applications were directly accepted by the consulate," the statement added. "It may be noted that the normal visa processing time is five working days."
"When the high commissioner came to know about the matter, he immediately intervened and gave necessary approval after which the visas were issued the same day," the statement said, adding that he also spoke to Tahir over the telephone.
Responding to Tahir's complaint, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said action would be taken against those responsible.