The Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad where Pakistani citizens are unwelcome

Published: June 6, 2013

I understand the sensitivities of the area, but treating your own citizens as foreigners can be rather insulting.

Quite easily, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life was when a group of friends decided to have dinner and I was singled out at a checkpost on our way there.

Here is why.

The Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad is a world of its own. All foreigners housed there are holed up behind the high walls of the enclave, bordered with barbed wires and cement barricades every five steps.

It is an area where an average Pakistani cannot enter without permission, invitation or even registration on a list through a foreign reference at the main gate.

So when my group of foreign journalist friends decided to go to one of the restaurants situated inside the enclave, everyone was allowed to enter except me because I was not a foreigner; like that was a bad thing!

Instead of trusting me more than the others, he questioned me on ‘how’ I knew them and what my agenda was?

I kept asking him why he would not let a citizen of the country, a resident of that city enter?

I started giving him explanations about how I belonged to a good family, worked for a reputed newspaper, other explanations — none of which worked. He just refused to listen.

I asked him whether the reason I could not enter had anything to do with me being a threat. He had no answer to this question, except he merely laughed and said,

“Madam it’s an order. No Pakistani can enter”.

One of the foreigners accompanying me recalled an incident where he and his friend had to hide their Pakistani friend in the back seat of the car to sneak him into the enclave — just to have dinner!

I understand the sensitivities of the area, but treating your own citizens as foreigners can be rather insulting.

Foreigners in Islamabad feel unsafe to eat outside the enclave and Pakistanis cannot enter without humiliation and interrogation.

So if you ask me, the next time there is a dinner plan, I will excuse myself from an embarrassing meal!

Read more by Maha here.

Maha Mussadaq

Maha Mussadaq

An Islamabad based reporter for the national pages of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Amin

    You have to understand that the diplomatic enclave is a high security area. It is completely logical for them to act this way, otherwise the diplomats would be at risk. In fact you should be proud that the integrity of diplomats in your country is protected and not compromised.Recommend

  • Voice of Baloch

    We are not allowed to enter in Quetta cantt. But it’s different for us, we don’t consider ourselves Pakistanis :)Recommend

  • Mkz

    I agree with the author. It is racism by our own people.Recommend

  • Ghulam Hussain Soomro

    This is such an absurd article. Try entering any of the bases of our armed forces or the Governor houses or CM houses in any of the provinces, just based on the fact that you’re “Pakistani”. Tell me how it goes then.Recommend

  • Daud

    Well written!! No doubt anyone would be offended if he/she were not allowed to enter a certain area in their own country (I acknowledge the security reasons) even after getting that very confirmation he/she is not a threat for the area but we must keep in mind we are leaving in such a country where we are facing 16-20 hours loadshading, drone attacks humiliate our sovereignty on daily basis, law and order situation is so bad no one is sure what would be happen next to him and majority of population is compelled to live their lives below poverty line. Etc. etc. ….Recommend

  • RK

    The answer to your question lies in your own statement – “Foreigners in Islamabad feel unsafe to eat outside the enclave”.Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    What Amin saidRecommend


    You are a reporter and you are writing some thing like this……..

    I dont get people like you at all…wht do you want …?????
    Pakistan is unsafe every one knows…so wht rule should be made…than all people who look good enough should enter high risk areas…!!!!!!
    Tommorrow when some one will bomb the area than people like you will write a blog saying that why is government not providing enough security….
    Its sad but its true…Pakisant in the last 7 years went through its worst time in history and if you love the country than you have to bear with it…….

    I am not saying im a big government fan..but there is some where you need to draw a line..enough security personals have given their life for their citizens…a citizen can atleast miss a DINNER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sad but true…..

    Theoretically YOU DONT UNDERSTAND THE SENSITIVITIES….and its more shameful that you are a reporter and still you dont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sad but true…..

    @Voice of Baloch:

    its sad tht u dont…please support your sardars who are keeping you uneducated and are making Profit worth millions…!!!Recommend

  • Humza

    @Voice of Baloch: The fact that you pretend to use the name Voice of Baloch and falsely claim that you are not allowed to enter the cant area of Quetta only tells me you have never been there. Anyone who lives in Quetta can tell you that despite being a high security area, anyone with proper identification is allowed in with no distinction to ethnicity.It must really bother you to know that the majority of Baluch, including my own relations in Quetta are staunchly pro Pakistani and have long learned that posts like yours are invariably from someone who has nothing to do with Baluchistan- let alone Pakistan. Ask yourself why Baluch are involved in the political process there, welcome the new government and have been applying to join the Pakistani military and Pakistani government jobs in greater numbers than ever. A few anti state miscreants on foreign payrolls won’t alter reality. As for the author, it’s understandable that security forces have a one solid rule for protecting the diplomatic enclave in the capital. I also suspect that a lot of self styled VIPs and self styled intellectuals feel that they should bypass security protocol but what works well in Pakistan are simple directives with no exceptions. I believe this is what is being done to safeguard the diplomatic community. If these foreigners were truly your friends, you would respect the basis for the level of security being provided as being in their best interests and just choose to socialise elsewhere.Recommend

  • abcde

    this is what passes for a blog?Recommend

  • Mazher Mehboob

    Seriously. Human Rights in Pakistan :) . With all due respect, ppl need to get out of there lala land and start helping other deprived citizens, sit will them, eat with them, learn with them and grow with them. So you can all be respected. Recommend

  • Tribune Reader

    @Voice of Baloch:
    When was the last time a settler was allowed to Saryab Road area and walk out alive? Or any Baloch majority area for that matter?Recommend

  • Voice of Pakistani

    @Voice of Baloch:
    Thanks for the somber reminder. I get it, you Baloch are suffering, as have other minorities in Pakistan. As a Pashtun, I’ve had people killed in my village because of militancy and the army. You do not see me going around berating the country. I find your comment immature and misguided considering the subject matter of the article. Go vent your frustrations somewhere else. People like you (I mean you, no the entire nation of Balochis, so you do not accuse me of generalization), need to look within and see what YOU can do as an individual to improve teh conditions of your people. Trolling the internet has not done anything for the Balochis. Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    This is very sad.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Maha : “I understand the sensitivities of the area, but treating your own citizens as foreigners can be rather insulting.Foreigners in Islamabad feel unsafe to eat outside the enclave and Pakistanis cannot enter without humiliation and interrogation.”

    There is reason for doing this to keep foreigners safe. It is not being done to Insult “Pakistanis”. Please don’t take it personally.

    Do you want your foreign friends to be safe? If Muslims decide to attack diplomats they will send people who will claim to be journalists or some other professionals. One can buy diplomatic passports in Pakistan and easily enter the enclave.

    Well educated Muslims have participated in terrorists attacks. A few of 9/11 terrorists were University graduates. A Muslim Army doctor in US army who got free medical education, killed 13 of his coworkers. Recent attacks in Boston was done by Muslims who got free apartment, free food. Even their parents good free food and welfare and I feel they did not pay much income taxes. Most likely they worked cash and took all money back home.

    Two Muslims have been caught, tried to harm people with underwear bombs, One Muslim convert had a bomb built in his shoes.

    Two journalists were used to kill a President of Afghanistan before.

    Most journalists support use of terrorism by ISI and Paki army in India and Pakistan, by keeping quiet or towing the line of Pakistan government. Recommend

  • KDP

    It is always a possibility that being Muslim you might have got influenced by Taliban recently and decided to wear explosives!! . (It has happened in past where well educated and once trusted persons carried out suicide bombing)Recommend

  • Gratgy

    No surprises! Pakistanis within Pakistan and outside are seen with suspicionRecommend

  • Raymond Davis

    They didn’t let me inside either. :( Recommend

  • Zuhaib Gull


    What you are saying is illogical. A high security area doesn’t constitute grounds for humiliation of this proportion. If there is no reason provided for barring the individual from entering, then I believe this is an infringement of a human being’s right to freedom. This kind of mentality shows the value of your citizens. If you treat your own kind, this way, how can you expect the foreigners to do so differently?

    Respect is earned, not given. One must know when to draw the line. You don’t do your people any good by treating your own like this, in front of all foreigners.Recommend

  • Haseeb

    @Amin: It is that soft attitude towards these issues that needs to change and has turned this country upside down. If a “foreigner” can enjoy the luxury of roaming free on this land then why not the “citizens”? The writer has a point and she makes it clear. If there’s a threat to this country, it’s probably more from the outside than from the inside.Recommend

  • Z

    @Voice of Baloch: As is evidenced by the writeup, all Pakistanis go through this, including Balochis (I understand your sentiment, but I do consider Balochis as Pakistani as anyone else). So while I believe there are unfortunately injustices targeted specifically towards our Baloch brothers, being victims of injustice is something all Pakistanis share as a result of people who we’ve elected/have been imposed on us.Recommend

  • Think again!!!

    Ok E.T did not publish my comment the first time let me try it again….

    Dear Author,

    you say you understand the sensitivities fo the area and still write this blog makes no sense.
    Wht should the goverment do??? Y dont you suggest.
    I am sorry to say many security personals have given their live because of the current situation, I think the least wht u can do is scarifice a DINNER…..!!!!!!
    You are a reporter yourself you should understand these things better than an ordinary Pakistani……..Recommend

  • Someone

    You don’t contradict yourself, because we don’t consider terrorists as Pakistanis :)Recommend

  • JOHN

    amazed to read that foreigners are still living in pakistanRecommend

  • suhaib

    pakophobia in pakistan? Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    Pakistanis are dangerous… that’s why.Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    What good is a land which does not treat its own people properly? It’s not like every Pakistani is a terrorist… Like the guy writing this comment.Recommend

  • cl.Kamran Ahmed


  • SAL

    @Voice of Baloch:
    Janab, no Tom, Dick or Harry can enter any Army Cantt unless permitted by authority. Don’t try to create a rift. PAK Defense establishments are secure area mind you, all Defense personal has to prove there ID before to entering. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Tip: Have pakistani friends……Recommend

  • jiya

    @Voice of Baloch:
    Then you should seriously get out from Pakistan , because Baluchistan isn’t your inheritance its a province of Pakistan,Recommend

  • sherrry

    @Voice of Baloch:
    do not misguide people here,
    everyone is allowed to enter in quetta cantt once they prove their identity and reference,
    special entry passes are also available if you are a frequent visitor,
    ask / confirm the procedure from some taxi or rikshaw driver who operate inside cantt ,if you want to,
    plus kindly change your nick as you dont represent baloch people.
    here is my suggestion for your nick “voice of BLA”Recommend

  • ALi

    LOL? so you think you can walk into GHQ or nuclear facilities just like that? Please think before you waste a section of my viewing pageRecommend

  • nadeem

    The day Pakistan’s state exercises its writ on militants, the day the “Puls” becomes competent and dependable, in short the day Pakistan becomes a normal country, will be the day when the Diplomatic Enclave will go back to the way it used to be: open to everyone, including unruly students from Quaid-e-Azam university.Recommend

  • bangash

    Pakistanis cannot be winners in this miserable security scenario.Recommend


    You my be missing something here. The easiest way to enter diplomatic enclave is a telephone call to police station by someone living inside enclave. hundreds of people including labors enter inside in this way. Recommend

  • Ehsan

    I understand and fully sympathize with what the author is saying. Unfortunately the Diplomatic Enclave is just another example of the sick “VIP CULTURE” which has been integrated into Pakistani society.

    Sad part is, the discrimination does not end here. I used to work in a company where we had foreign employees and I observed this with my own eyes foreigners do not get stopped at checkpoints, get a special warm treatment by our officials everywhere (including FIA at the airport, police, etc) and on average are treated much better than Pakistanis in Pakistan.

    While I was working abroad, I experienced more freedom of movement and felt more at ease in comparison to my home country, Pakistan.

    Indeed, Pakistan is a society of contradictions.

    So for diplomats and security of VVIP’s is it okay to block roads, stop air traffic, jam cellular communications, and even restrict movement of ambulances ??? . Please give me a break. Pakistan’s own flawed policies have resulted in the poor security situation and the VIP culture is only there to serve diplomats, politicians, and military. Recommend

  • Dev

    Name me the single place where Pakistanis are welcomed.Recommend

  • Usman Khan


    What a pathetic excuse you gave and ironically 23 people liked it too..Recommend

  • Someone

    @Voice of Baloch: Neither do you contradict yourself, for we do not accept terrorists as Pakistanis :)Recommend

  • hema

    its not just foreigners who have security threats. and average pakistani too can be killed/mugged/violated anytime and anywhere in this very land. why then are there special enclaves for them and not for us?
    i do not appreciate such efforts to keep the foreigners safe whn the countys citizens should be its top priority. everyones life is precious. Recommend

  • Usman786

    We Punjabis cannot live in Balochistan so how do you say about that. Now donot say that its bcz of your love for Pakistan army which is 50% pathan. sadly its true muslims cannot live together in peace. there are mir jaffar’s in every tenure. who will benefit if Pakistan is divided and will your sardars let you develop? why no development work was carried out in Quetta alone by your public reps.Recommend

  • mushtaq ali khan

    It is necessary to take such steps,but the foreigners should also be checked.Every one either pakistani or foreigner should be checked and interrogated because now a days it is essential.Recommend

  • Imran

    Look, shes right and i support her in the way that there is no reason for rejecting a citizen thats not a threat. Or a threat error system good enough to determine the quality of the citizen that wants to enter for a dinner or invitation.
    Basically pakistan is now boring to live anyway and we are better of being a second class citizen in some other nation rather than being second class in your own place of birth.Recommend

  • Faqir Ipi


    How about a dinner in Waziristan under Drones controlled and monitored from US Embassy in Diplomatic Enclave ?

    The road via Jandola, linking Waziristan with the rest of the country, has been closed during last several years. No alternative route was left open to them to travel to any other place, except for travel to Afghanistan via Angoor Ada or to go all the way through Balochistan and Afghanistan to reach other parts of the country—a journey which is not only long but also dangerous.

    What if Pashtuns contractors (so called Nationalist) daily suffer similarly while travelling to Wali Bagh, Swabi, Mardan, Charsada ?

    What if ruling elites living in Defense, CDA, Malls Roads and Societies daily suffer similarly while travelling to Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore Islamabad?

    Similarly Waziristan is known for cultivation of the best fruits/vegetables (apples, apricots, plums and tomatoes). Because of the road closure and army operations, the locals could not transport their fruit and vegetables to the markets in Punjab / Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

    What if similar heavy financial losses are suffered by Pashtuns contractors (so called Nationalist from Wali Bagh, Mardan, Charsada) or those Liberal Fanatics living in DHAs, Malls Roads and Societies of Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore Islamabad ?

    Pashtuns from Waziristan don’t have enough to eat, don’t have a job and no prospects in life. They are wronged they have no redress. There are tortured daily by political agents, police, caught up for years in endless grind of court cases. There is endemic corruption all round. Every government deprtt, serves itself, not anything as esoteric as the people.

    If this is not recruiting ground for Talibanism, what is ?Recommend

  • UK

    @Voice of Baloch:

    Native Pashtoons who make over 45% of Population of “Administrative” Baluchistan consider themselves Pakistanis. Quetta Cantt is in Pashtoon area of Pakistan anyhow. As a non Pakistani and Non Pashtoon why would you be allowed there?

    Out going PM of Pakistan (as of 24 hours) and current President who are both Baluch are welcome though. Recommend

  • Gooner

    I enter diplomatic enclave all the time because I just dont show up and say hey I need to get in because I live in Islamabad.. I always have a proper reason and clearance to go in..

    Its one of the most sensitive areas of Islamabad so next time you think of bashing Islamabad police just because they are fulfilling their duty, think DIPLOMATIC enclave and it has to be protected by ‘high walls, armed guards and STRANGERS’

    Next time take your ‘gora’ friends to Kohsar market, trust me it has much better places to go to than dip enclave. Recommend

  • Mariyah

    Its called its full glory :p .. period.Recommend

  • Jamil

    Its because Pakistan as a nation has shamelessly inherited the culture of inferiority complex from its colonial past. Therefore it values foreigners more than itself and it is ok with that..Recommend

  • Weird

    Isn’t the diplomatic enclave technically not Pakistan’s territory? (A Pakistani diplomatic enclave in the US, would be, Pakistani territory under international law, if I am not wrong).Recommend

  • Yasir

    Diplomatic enclave is not a fun place where everyone is allowed to go! we should understand the sensitivity of this area. And yes those who has nothing to do with this place should not get the clearance. There is a way to get in to the enclave but only for those who has some business with the embassies or high commissions for instance matters like visa/trade/passport/citizenship/political etc. If High commission or Embassy has called you for the matters other than visa/immigration than they will definitely give you a clearance and your name and car number your id card info was given at entrance gate to the Police. Else you should come through Diplomatic Shuttle service (bus service). And it is where some of the “well off” people came in their cars (Pakistani of course) with black tinted windows trying to get in to the enclave thinking that its their own property just like rest of the Pakistan got a “access denied” signal than wrote such articles to let go their frustration. and most of the people just don’t want to travel in a bus and that is why tries to bring their own car inside the enclave.
    On my personal note i don’t think the police is too strict on checking the vehicles and identity, because i work in diplomatic enclave and i saw every entrance gate is different in adopting security protocols and policies than the other. At the End i will agree to Gooner, if anyone is interested to take their gora friends to Diplomatic enclave for sight seeing, THINK AGAIN.
    Please do not make a bad image/impression of Pakistan infront of diplomats who are here as a guest.Recommend

  • YS

    @dev Last time I checked Indians are not welcome anywhere in south asia among neighbors. Plus UK, Australia and US. That isn’t a very rosy picture for you, is it? But from your comments, I don’t feel an iota of sympathy. Great stand by all these countries, and for all the right reasons.Recommend

  • saif ur rehman

    pakistani policies are very strange.Recommend

  • Ali

    @Raymond Davis:
    hahahahaha epicRecommend

  • hammerman

    well they do have a point….Pakistan is a much nicer place without Pakistanis :)Recommend

  • Raana

    My husband calls it The Forbidden City ;-)Recommend

  • Atta

    True, But at the same time one have to realize the self respect of its own citizen, it shouldn’t be at stake when giving security to our dear foreigner colleagues. Our attitudes are were teasing with our own countrymen, then how should we expect the respect abroad. In our day to day life, showing disrespect and ignoring our citizens prevail badly every place.

    Once for project, I visited Australian embassy in enclave on “Their Request”, I was representing a sound group, so no problem at outside main gate, allowed me easily, no problem at embassy’s door, again allowed me easily, but once I was in, I was interviewed in detail, and I told everything about me, from where I belong and about my fore fathers, :) blah blah, then they allowed me to go to meet them , but wait, a pen in my pocket, my purse, cell, usb, all money, handkerchief (romaal), even my identity card was taken from me, I was only with my pant and wearing my shirt, I asked them just for humor that my waist get lose due to dieting these days, so don’t ask for my belt please. The laughed and allowed me to in. So brother this was not before, an year 2000. This war on terror has made all of us terror actually, without drawing any boundary line between us, we all our terror (sorry but this is how we treated)

    Hai.. the old days of secure Pakistan, the fearless foreigners in our land… when it would come back, pray bro, I am praying too. Recommend

  • A

    @Maha Mussadaq

    Absolute rubbish, and not true, the writers “Foreign” friends must have been too naive or downright lazy to get her name on the registration list, which is also used as a list for guests and other people to enter. i have gone to the diplomatic enclave myself quite a few times, never once have i faced any such issue..why? because i made sure the people inviting me inside had given my details at the checkposts, thats why? please dont blame everything on Pakistan,the security forces and anyone you can find, just because you couldnt get a particular thing done..WHICH by the way was your mistake to start with. ET can we please move up a notch from 3rd grader posts, and rich girl problem meme posts now ….. GOT INVITED FOR DINNER…DIPLOMATIC ENCLAVE WONT LET ME IN .. boo hoo hooRecommend

  • Ali

    There are many nice restaurants outside the enclave where you guys could have gone. You chose to get insulted.Recommend

  • Dhanus Menon

    There are a lot terrorists in Pakistan so why be surprised??? The same way as Muslims are discriminated at airports in the western world. There are terrorists among you and how the security people know you are not one. Recommend

  • 80s

    What foreign reference? I have been living there for last 15 years and have no idea what you are blabbing about. It is understandable if it’s an attempt to make your article fancy but please don’t mislead people. It is a high security place that has been under attack twice and any security check should not be criticized. What a waste of time..Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    “YOU” poor common Pakistanis … how dare you ? no money, no power, no corruption and you want to enter elite society ? Recommend

  • binger

    that reminds me of those days when I with my friends used to bicycle in those areas, now called diplomatic enclave, even in front of US embassy. Those were pretty awesome days. Recommend

  • Ghous

    Thanks for voicing against this issue, I do agree with the stance of law enforcement agencies ensuring security at the enclave BUT at the same time it should be across the board for everyone regardless of their nationality. This might be the only instance in the world where citizens in their own country are treated as second class citizens; taking it as an example, it is a shame to say though!. I somehow feel that we as nation are becoming used to of such treatments and have started accepting it as reality; guys we don’t deserve this, we are much better nation and deserve to have the same respect as others enjoy in their countries. Thanks again to the writer! Recommend

  • Hamster

    Hear, hear.

    If you’re entering a guarded enclave you should really make sure that the security checkposts have your details, if that is their protocol requirement (which is entirely their prerogative). It’s quite simple. Your foreign journalist friends should have known this (they probably did know this, as all internal residents and guests are usually informed about the security protocols on arrival), and they should have done something about it. Recommend

  • Omer

    Well , the writer here , in my opinion is trying to put forward a point , that after proper identification one should b aloud inside the enclave , while the point is very valid but the reality is what the writer has tried to explain and that is that even after proper identification one is not allowed inside, that in my opinion is a bit demeaning. no matter how stringent the security measures are , when u have been identified and throughly checked one should b allowed inside , which is the case throughout pakistan in general , even in millitary areas .Recommend

  • joy

    I am an Indian….and I refuse to believe this.How can anyone not be allowed somewhere which is in his’her own country unless it is a strategic or defence installation. Recommend

  • Anoop

    In spite of all the public protestation about mistreatment of Pakistanis abroad and how they are subjected to humiliating procedures in the airport and how they are spied upon unfairly, Pakistani Govt/Establishment is practical when it comes to security for the Diplomats.

    This is hypocritical. When you agree that there is a serious extremist problem in your populace, why make such a big deal when others too get practical when it comes to security?

    So, say, US should not check Pakistanis at the airport or spy on them for security purposes, but Pakistan can for the same reason?

    Its well and nice to say majority are peaceful, ideology is misused and unfairly the good guys are blamed, but the truth, when it comes to saving lives is always bitter. Recommend

  • joy

    Raana “My husband calls it The Forbidden City ;-)” Then it should be handed over to the Chinese:)Recommend

  • Think again!!!


    I dont get it….In the whole world no one is allowed to enter an embassy without a valid reason….Ok this area is not an Embassy…but still security is at high alert..
    Why to make a fuss out of it….!!!!
    Country has alot of security threats and many people ahve given their life for it…..i think the minimum you can do is scarifice your dinner……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sam

    I agree that she should have gotten clearance ahead of time. I have dual citizenship and I would never expect to waltz into the enclave without it but I always wondered if I’d be treated differently in certain places if I used my second nationality and was accompanied by a native-born of the second nationality. How much of this is about race/ethnicity and how much is about nationality?
    In my opinion, her foreign friends should either have credentials to get in or clearance ahead of time as well. I hope that’s what happened because then I don’t really see anything wrong with what the guards did… but if so, didn’t they know she’d have a problem? If no one had clearance and she simply wasn’t let in because of her nationality while the foreigners were permitted (I can’t imagine this to be true otherwise we’d have terrorists recruiting white-skinned people to take bombs into the diplomatic enclave).
    Point is, we don’t know the story well enough to comment on it.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Last time I checked Indians are not welcome anywhere in south asia among neighbors. Plus UK, Australia and US.

    Thats because you are unable to check properly. But I do feel sympathy for you. 71 countries and territories provide visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to holders of Indian passports.

    Whereas as per “Henley Visa Restrictions Index 2012”, holders of a Pakistani passport can visit 32 countries visa-free or with visa on arrival. This is the second lowest number of all passports worldwide after Afghan passports

  • Javerea

    Wow!!!! The mind set of some Pakistani is astonishing! She is upset that she is treated like an outsider in her own country. I understand that no Joe-Shamo can enter the enclave because we need to protect our foreign friends. However, a respectable person, accompanied by her foreign friends, who shows proper identification and purpose- still can’t be entered? hmmmmm seems to be that we have internalized the title of being labeled terrorist to quite a degree.

    There are still some other factors behind the wisdom of implementing such a regulation.

    The essential problem is security in Pakistan; which the gov’t has turned a blind eye to and just protects ‘some’ instead of protecting all. I am not well versed in Police department regulations but even i can tell that this agency needs reform. It’s not unfathomable–there are some examples we can take from the reformations that took place in LAPD and NYPD and see if they can fit with our system. (some not all, since clearly we can’t compete or apply all due to cultural barriers).

    Lastly, it’s disappointing that Pakistani’s (largely Muslims) who are treated with suspicion abroad are treated with the same distrust at home. It is insulting! Our government should have our backs, not make us feel guilty of a crime the majority of Pakistani’s will never think of doing. The mentality of ‘we are in the wrong’ need to be eliminated from our psyche. I mean the U.S didn’t ban all white folks from Northern States following the civil war just because blacks were now living in the north and the KKK members can come hunting them down there.Recommend

  • a

    foreigners here are treated in an equally disgusting manner. needing nocs to travel just about anywhere, harassed by police, fleeced by landlords, abused in the street just for being white, not allowed a sim card with data services because they’re from another country – what this column shows it that it’s time for more tolerance more common sense, and a lot less racism on both sides. pakistanis aren’t terrorists and white people aren’t raymond davis.Recommend

  • mind control

    So when my group of foreign journalist friends decided to go to one of the restaurants situated inside the enclave, everyone was allowed to enter except me because I was not a foreigner; like that was a bad thing! Instead of trusting me more than the others, he questioned me on ‘how’ I knew them and what my agenda was?

    Well even a 5th Standard child knows that the rest of the world is always conspiring against the citadel of Islam. The poor fellows have to be careful.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    And the problem is?

    One little area in Islamabad that’s a safe haven for foreigners, that our government has willingly provided them considering our security situation.

    I understand your inconvenience, but this is somewhat of a necessity Recommend

  • samreen

    I have been to the same situation once I visited Islamabad. I still remember a heavy rainfall with Lots of luggage with me finding a taxi. That was a ridiculous. Recommend

  • pak patriot

    It happens when your own house is not in order. Recommend

  • Tribune Reader

    What happened to voice of baloch or should I say voice of BLA? Recommend

  • gp65

    @YS: “@dev Last time I checked Indians are not welcome anywhere in south asia among neighbors. Plus UK, Australia and US. ”

    Not sure where you checked. But you did not do a good job of checking.
    There is no problem for Indians wanting to visit Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka or China. Visas are easily available. As far as Australia is concerned, this year the maximum number of approved permanent residents was from India (higher than China which was the maximum last year). India and China keep trading the top place for number of students going to US for studies (over 100,000 per year) and about 50% of the H1B visa is used by Indians. Recommend

  • abused

    deliberately not publishing comments which are not even abusing is called curtailing of freedom of expression! ET is very good at thatRecommend

  • Amrita

    “I started giving him explanations about how I belonged to a good family, worked for a reputed newspaper, other explanations — none of which worked. He just refused to listen.” Typical Pakistani attitude – asking for relaxations because of who you are. Based on your reasoning it is ok for someone not belonging to a good family, not working for a reputed newspaper not to be allowed in, even if they are Pakistani citizens. When will our people learn to actually believe and act on ‘no one is above the law’ rule.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Baba Ji: Even if you want to visit your taliban friends or have dinner with them, they will check you out. If you are poor they give you a job too, make you a nice soldier.Recommend

  • Shocked to hear

    @Voice of Pakistani:

    Jab Kashmir ki baat aati hai, tab toh bada uchchalte ho. Then it’s not a matter of “look within and sort things out”, and “don’t go on about berating the nation”. In fact, not only that, you send terrorists and create an insurgency there for your own convenience. Recommend

  • pakistani1414918

    I can understand the anger of the author here. If your friends were diplomats and you were singled out it’s different, but ordinary citizens freely going into embassies while a locals are singled out is wrong.

    However our police country wide has been reported “harassing” and arresting foreigners ever since the Raymond Davis incident. Recommend

  • Sane

    An ordinary Pakistani is treated like an stinking insect in this country at such places you are referring to.Recommend

  • Nero

    @jiya:Then you should seriously get out from Pakistan , because Baluchistan isn’t your inheritance its a province of Pakistan,

    Seriously? Is it a sarcasm or naivette or complete lack of knowledge of history? Balochistan (at least the traditional baloch areas) is indeed the inheritance of baloch people and have been so for last three hundred years. The only way to create a “nation” called Pakistan is to stop treating “provinces” as colonized territories. What is Pakistan if not its people? Recommend

  • stevenson

    @Amrita: You are so right about Pakistanis wanting to be VIPs and bend the law. Your comment made me laugh; It is so typical of Pakistani citizens to think they deserve to be above the law if they belong to a good family, have some education, work as a reporter etc. Until Pakistanis realize that there is one law for all, they will never see improvement in society. What I can’t understand is why this writer feels she needs to challenge the law in order to go to a diplomatic area whenever she wants just by showing up and explaining herself. She will be the first to write up about poor security if some violent attack took place there because of poor security! You can’t have it both ways.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @pakistani1414918: If your friends were diplomats and you were singled out it’s different, but ordinary citizens freely going into embassies while a locals are singled out is wrong.

    I guess she went to lunch with foreign non-Pakistani Journalists. In future Pakistani security may have to check every one, once White converts join the Jihad in a big way. Converts to Islam beheaded a soldier in UK recently. One other convert attacked a soldier in France. One Belgium White convert woman had the honor of being a first Muslim convert suicide bomber in Afghanistan. One American White convert died in Syria recently.Recommend

  • hammad

    quite inspired by your writing and really felt bad about incident happened with you , well what do you expect in a country like Pakistan where all your country`s decisions are taken by foreigners , even the elections were decided by them , and as far as the rights concern just give a thought that who deserve security most pakistan or foreign national , but they do get protocols and even our police cannot put their hands on normal foreign passport holder .Recommend

  • stevenson

    @hammad: Not only can the Pakistani police apprehend foreigners, they have done so on numerous past occasions. They also have arrested foreign passport holders if you must know. You seem to ignore the real issue is that some Pakistanis like this writer do not understand that a secuirty zone exists for a reason and that no Pakistani should consider himself above the law because they ” belong to a good family”, ” have a respectable job” ” work for so and so” or have “so much money”. I dispute your belief that Pakistan’s elections were decided by anyone else – only Pakistanis voted and independent observers, including those in Europe have concluded that despite minor irregularities, elections for the most part were fair and free. Rather than criticise the country and secuirty, try to understand why laws and secuirty protocols are in place.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    @Voice of Pakistani:

    Cut out your music about a Pakistani! You are first a Pashtun and then a Pakistani. It is not easy to make a Nation from Pakistanis of different ethni origin. The Bengalis opted for separation and the Bluchis could do the same followed by Pashtuns. Love and compassion with solidarity holds communities. and what belongs together can also grow together!!!

    Pakisan is a country and to be a Nation one needs cohesion, and this is missing and this is what the political leadership need to do. Islamabad was not created to accomodate foreigners or to make a green territory. The Government should consider the new capital for the country near the sea port and take all foreign elements from the city of Islamabad. It was the military decision of expedience but a faulty one without a vision to house foreign cyber forces in middle of the country.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Shayan

    The fact that a diplomat is protected by not allowing your citizens to enter is a matter of shame not of pride. It is the incompetency of the government that foreign diplomats have to be protected behind barricades where as the public is left to roam in the streets. this clearly implies that if foreign diplomats can not roam around the city streets safely than neither can the public and thus we should be provided the same security as they are.Recommend

  • Mazher Mehboob

    christinas, Ahmedis and other minorites are treated with discrimination in Pakistan.
    I bet they & their childrens think too, is this not their country?

    What you sow, you will reap. Recommend

  • anonymous

    I can’t believe newspapers are actually publishing such childish, amateur writing. Express Tribune needs to seriously reconsider the kind of journalists they hire or they risk losing readership. Recommend

  • http://calcuttacity,westbengal,india Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    Can I enter the diplomatic enclave, I am a Indian and a foreigner too.the diplomatic enclave people would be happy to see me there. :) I enter jalandhar cantt area at will and fort William on providing invitation card at the gate. Beautiful and clean places these cantt areas are. Recommend

  • Dr Sunshine

    Dear Maha

    Indeed your article is the most stupid thing i have read besides my students mid term papers….What are you trying to say in your article let me enlighten you on some basic facts that you will have never recognized…..

    Have you gone to swat recently and seen the checking going on over there where an army soldier does not even know how to speak to people …That is insulting ….take the visit to see it

    Have you ever tried to enter islamabad in the coaster from other areas and seen the police behaviour or if your car registration is not from islamabad as to what you have to go through

    Yes diplomatic enclave is different as most embassies are there but have you ever tried going to cantt areas then you will know what it feels that sometimes you would want to put your pakistani nationality on hold

    Balouch voice or what ever your name is …you are right i have found out that you cannot enter Cantt area i have confirmed it …

    How to you expect us to be pakistani’s and loyal pakistanis when at the time of Swat war the Punjab Gov closed the doors on our people from entering their province ….

    I can go on and on but i guess for now this is more than enough to remind you that your just a citizen with a pen in hand nothing more….so if it happens to you take it on the chin and dont whine about it like a …………….

    keep the sun upRecommend

  • sherrry

    @Dr Sunshine:
    no you have not confirmed it n if you hav then i doubt your source,
    bdw what is your reason to enter cantt area , its not a picnic spotRecommend