ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani passport has been ranked among the five worst passports globally in a list of countries that enjoy visa-free or visa on arrival access.

The country’s passport has moved up two spots on the 2019 Henley Passport Index, but continues to remain the fifth-worst passport globally, offering its holders visa-free access to just 33 countries.

Only Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are lower on the list, according to the Henley Passport Index. India is in joint 79th position alongside Benin, Morocco, Mongolia and Armenia.

The index ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is updated in real-time as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.

The Palestinian Territory is placed three places higher and Yemen is one place above Pakistan (with access to visa-free/visa-on-arrival to 37 countries).

Only Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are lower on the Henley Passport Index

Pakistan stands at 102nd place with access to visa-free/visa-on-arrival to 33 countries.Sri Lanka is in 95th position and Bangladesh on 97th with access to visa-free/visa-on-arrival to 41 countries.

The US and the UK continue to drop down the Henley Passport Index — which is based on authoritative data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — and now sit in joint sixth place, with access to 185 destinations.

China’s steady ascent up the rankings is a clear demonstration of this. In 2017, the country was ranked at 85, with citizens able to access just 51 destinations. Going into 2019, China now sits in 69th place, with access to 74 countries around the world.

Similarly, the United Arab Emirates continues its upward trajectory, now holding the top spot in Middle East and 22nd place globally.

In the newly unveiled index, Pakistan occupies the 102nd spot as compared to the 104th spot in the previous list, reflecting a two-spot jump for the green passport. However, as was the case with the 2018 index, the Pakistani passport is better than only four other countries: Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and database of travel information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

Japan on top

Japan holds the top spot on the Henley Passport Index for the second year running, offering citizens visa-free access to a record 190 destinations, whereas Singapore continues to hold 2nd place, along with South Korea, which has moved up from 3rd place, with citizens able to access 189 destinations.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019