ISLAMABAD: Sweden has indefinitely closed its embassy in the capital citing the security situation as the reason.

“Due to the current security situation in Islamabad, the Embassy of Sweden is closed for visitors. The Migration Section is not, at the moment, able to handle requests of any kind. Also, we cannot send any documents to our consulates, Gerry´s, or to your home address. We understand that this will cause inconvenience however, the safety of our applicants and staff members are of highest priority,” a notice placed on the embassy’s website reads.

It also stated that any questions about re-opening cannot be answered at the moment.

If you have questions regarding your case, please contact the Migration Agency. Closure of the embassy has upset a number of students aspiring to study in Sweden, who have already invested time and money in the process to meet the academic requirements and prepare applications for Swedish universities.

“Many Pakistani students are applying for Swedish universities this year asking us about their status. We hope they can apply for visa soon. Education is an important aspect of our longstanding relationship and students bridge the two countries,” Pakistan embassy in Sweden tweeted.

The Swedish embassy did not elaborate on the nature of the threat, but many believe the decision was linked with the recent incident of burning of the holy Quran in Sweden.

A Danish-Swedish far-right extremist known for spreading anti-Muslim hatred burned a copy of the holy Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on Jan 21 under the protection of Swedish police.

The incident had not only drawn condemnation from Muslims worldwide, but many non-Muslim leaders expressed their disapproval of it.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2023

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