Emad's Blog (Under Renovation)

Friday, February 09, 2007

V for Ven-Visa?

For those of you that have ever applied for a visa to the US or to some high profile Western Europe country, being a citizen of Pakistan, you'd agree that the process is fairly complex. It involves everything from travel insurances, invitation letters, attested photographs, long forms, travelling to Islamabad, grilling interviews with grim faced visa officers and exorbiant visa fees. After going through hell, if you satisfy the requirements, you get the visa, else you don't.

What you might not be aware of is that Pakistan takes bilateralism VERY seriously. So the following is the process for someone applying for a Pakistani visa (assume for the purpose of this analysis, that person is from an EU country):

1. Apply for Visa at Pakistan Embassy in EU country.
2. Get told there is no such thing as an NGO Work Visa. Get rejected.
3. Bring printout of Ministry of Interior website on NGO Work Visas.
4. Apply for 1 Yr Multiple entry NGO Work Visa.
5. Get told an approval is required from the Ministry of Interior.
6. Get approval from MoI.
7. Get a 1 month single entry NGO Work Visa. Complain.
8. They say it can be extended from Pakistan. Complain.
9. They give you a 3 month NGO Work visa. Get happy you acheived something.
10. Come to Pakistan despite serious warning against having to have extensions here.
11. Apply for Extension. Wait.
12. Follow up extension. Records are lost. Apply again.
13. 1 week to IC. Still no extension. Single entry visa. Shit! Panic!
14. Travel to Islamabad and beg for a re-entry visa after banking hours (yea rite!)
15. A few tears, and you have a re-entry visa.
16. Come back to Pakistan, apply immediately for extension using high powered govt contact.
17. Get told a 10 month extension takes long. Get 3 months extension instead, while keeping 10 month in progress.
18. Wait for 1 month for the Intelligence Bureau people to show up. Nothing. Follow up. Wait.
19. Wait for 2 months for the Intelligence Bureau people to show up. Nothing. Follow up.
20. Panic.
21. 6 days before IPM you get told there's no such application there.
22. Options:
a. Apply for extension again. No going to IPM.
b. Apply for new visa. Go back to EU country.
c. Change Date on Visa. Get arrested.
d. Kill yourself.

After following a rather extensive documentational requirement, one realizes that they are still no closer to getting a Pakistani visa. Why is it so difficult when the Prime Minister is begging foreigners to come to this country? What are we thinking?! Perhaps we don't like to mingle? Why are we making mile long queues outside the German embassy then? What are we thinking?!

Today, I took Joanna's passport to the passport office in the hope things would work out. After waiting for 2 hours for a 'guy' to show up, I was told, it's prayer time and that I should leave! Hell, with all the corruption, you're gonna need more than prayer, buddy!

But Pakistan's an amazing country. Every time I walk out of that godforsaken passport office, I hear the voice: "Get outta here man! Leave! Join that mile long queue to Germany!". Funnily, by the time I get back home though, I realize things will never 'automatically' get better. I belong to the small echelon of society that can make a difference. So, should I join that queue and never look back?

On my way back today, an interesting thing happened. I got stuck in traffic 'cos some 'Big Person's Motorcade' was passing and they'd chosen to disregard any respect for life in general so that that person may pass. I counted the cars (Wish I had a camera to record this live!). 27 Vehicles! That's right, Inclusive of Bikes, Ambulances, Bomb Squads, Fire Engines, 4 Mercedes Benz, Civilian Police, Traffic Police, Military Police, Army, Navy, Rangers. People all around me got excited sayin 'Oh Musharraf Ja Raha Hai' (Oh Musharraf is passing!). Reminded me of a documentary I saw last night, Power of Nightmares. Talks about how societies will decay from within and this decay will accelerate as you find leaders that make you believe you are getting closer to freedom. Freedom? I don't think the random policeman in that motorcade was too free! Or the Rickshaw guy in front of me! Or I! Or Even Mr President himself. Wonder if he needs visas to go around!

Oh well, before I go into another endless rant, I'll leave it at that.

In other news, I did not apply to AIESEC International. For all those I've promised an update, things just spiralled out of control at a rather bad time as my parents decided to have a midlife crisis of sorts. Surely, a little sad about it, but I'll live! Who knows, maybe I'll join the selection panel and be super mean to all the candidates! Khee! I love these guys! Best of Luck, y'all!

As for me, I'm now thinking out loud 'What's Next?'. Open to suggestions! :)

On a final note, I'll be travelling for a coupla months now, so another update might be a while, but I promise it will be a sexier update (with pictures!). Egyptian Biryani and the Deserts of Hyderabad, here I come!

7 Comments:

  • THANK YOU Emad!!! You are an angel for doing this :) Sorry to have to put you through this...

    By Blogger Joanna, At 9/2/07 17:32  

  • My apologies on behalf of the brilliant and competent diplomatic community of Pakistan.

    By Blogger eMad, At 9/2/07 17:58  

  • Take some time off when you come to the brilliant city of Hyderabad :) Cant promise any crabbing equivalent though!!!

    Let me know your final plan et all..and enjoy Cairo...sigh..

    By Blogger Niharika, At 9/2/07 20:58  

  • 1) very interesting learning experiences with visas ;)

    2) luckily you are the kind that never goes to the queue in front of the German Embassy (unless there's a conference there or you want to visit a friend) but remains there to make a difference, to change things, to change people and in the end change the system :) and yes, Pakistan is an AMAZING country with some very special people and a unique charm that ones discover it only by living there :) and those special people make all the effort to improve things worth it!

    3) thanks for the updated with AI (but i already understood everything from that long e-mail of yours :P)

    3)you want suggestions for the future??? here's one: how about an internship at ABN AMRO Romania ???? :P:D
    we'll have super internships coming up soon! ;) hehehe

    4) Enjoy Egypt and India but don't forget that Eastern Europe and especially Romania is very beautiful, interesting and different too :D :P plus you have a good friend there ;)

    Delia :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11/2/07 05:27  

  • dude..any developments on the delhi trip post hyderabad? fill me in!..

    By Blogger chitgo, At 13/2/07 12:25  

  • Well, I am so so happy I have the opportunity to get more of the Pakistan life actually before getting there. I did not see Emad's name on the list with fresh SN-s but I'm sure Romania might be on the top of his country visits list.

    Take care Emad, hope to have the chance to actually meet you face to face, heard great things about you :P

    aura

    By Blogger Aura, At 13/2/07 14:17  

  • đồng tâm
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    cho thuê phòng trọ
    nhac san cuc manh
    số điện thoại tư vấn pháp luật miễn phí
    văn phòng luật
    tổng đài tư vấn pháp luật
    dịch vụ thành lập công ty trọn gói

    "Hoàng tộc ngu xuẩn, vượt xa khỏi tưởng tượng của bất cứ kẻ nào!" Đệ Ngũ Khinh Nhu nói một câu, lập tức đóng nắp quan tài tất cả mọi chuyện.

    Sự tình cũng bắt đầu từ giờ khắc này, không thể nghịch chuyển!

    Cảnh Mộng Hồn không bắt được Sở diêm vương, lại mang theo một phong thư, cùng một tấm phiếu nợ, về tới tướng phủ.

    Dòng thứ nhất: "Hôm nay nợ Tiếp Thiên lâu, vật phẩm tổn phí, tất cả mười vạn lượng bạc trắng!"

    Dòng thứ hai: "Hôm nay nợ Tiếp Thiên lâu, phí tổn thất danh dự, tất cả mười vạn lượng bạc trắng!"

    Dòng thứ ba: "Dấu tay xác nhận."

    Người ký tên: "Đệ Ngũ Khinh Nhu."

    Người ký tên: "Cảnh Mộng Hồn."

    Dấu tay đỏ tươi.
    Lúc Đệ Ngũ Khinh Nhu nhìn thấy cái phiếu nợ này, sắc mặt cực kỳ đặc sắc.

    Động tới Tiếp Thiên lâu, lại bắt người ở Tiếp Thiên lâu, Đệ Ngũ Khinh Nhu đã sớm có chuẩn bị, nhất định phải trả một cái giá nhất định cho Quân Tích Trúc! Bằng không mặt mũi của mình cũng không đủ để đối phương mài hết!

    Nhưng, thứ nhất, Đệ Ngũ Khinh Nhu cho rằng, nếu là bắt được Sở diêm vương, đừng nói là một hai trăm vạn, cho dù là một vạn vạn lượng, cũng đáng! Nhưng lại không bắt được.

    Thứ hai, nếu không bắt được, cái giá một trăm vạn này thật sự quá cao rồi! Lao sư động chúng, một cọng lông cũng không chạm vào được, hơn nữa còn bị người ta sỉ nhục một hồi. Vậy mà còn phải xuất ra một trăm vạn?

    By Blogger Dinh Ha, At 30/9/15 06:31  

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