Stories about visa

Hockey World Cup: Have we as a country collectively failed our national sport?

Like the case for most sports in the country barring cricket, the last 10 years have been a lost decade for Pakistan hockey as well. During this period, the team’s performance witnessed a severe decline not seen since Pakistan first started playing hockey in 1948. In 2014, Pakistan failed to qualify for the hockey World Cup for the first time, followed by a failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro. The team is currently ranked 13 in the world, which is marginally better than when it slipped to 14th last year. Once a powerhouse ...

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The curse of the green passport: 4 places to visit this Eid break without any visa woes

English novelist Aldous Huxley once said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” He could not have been more accurate, as only the bearer of a green passport can truly understand this. However, though it is obviously very difficult to get a visa on a green passport, it is not entirely impossible. If you move away from the Americas and the European destinations to allow for an easier visa, there are several countries that wholeheartedly welcome you despite the colour of your passport. Given the (not so) long Eid holidays coming up, I shall highlight a ...

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The words not spoken

He had slept without removing his shoes. His parents watched him as they stood in the doorway. They smiled, went towards him and took off his shoes, one by one, gently, as if each had a life of its own. But his socks were quite moist and his feet felt cold. She looked at her son with concern, but her husband calmly motioned her to sit. Both of them sat as she wiped his feet with her hands and a cloth, and tucked him neatly into a blanket.  She switched the lights off, and as darkness submerged the boy’s room, they returned ...

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The vicious cycle of a Pakistani applying for a UK visa: Apply, reject, more money, re-apply, reject, more money

London is like my second home. My love for the city knows no bounds. My friends like to call me the brand ambassador of London. Even my wife feels envious at times. While London in summer is more like a ritual for me and my family, I am not too sure if the tradition can be sustained anymore given the visa tragedy. Recent news has been dominated with UK visa horror stories of endless delays and unreasonable rejections. The United Kingdom seems to be pursuing an unannounced policy of rejecting visa applications from Pakistan. A recent study conducted by an ...

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Looking for a blissful holiday? Forget Thailand, hello Zanzibar!

The orange of the flame trees was so vivid that I felt it would come off on my finger if I were to touch it. The colour of the flame trees stands out in my memory when I think about Zanzibar, with its white beaches and dreamlike turquoise waters. Zanzibar, an island off of Tanzania, is a beautiful place to escape to. The brilliant green of the trees is unfettered by billboards, tiny shacks with metal roofs crowd the roadsides, selling bright red, yellow and blue football jerseys, t-shirts and flip-flops. The locals are predominantly Muslim, the women are dressed ...

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Once upon a time, there were two travellers – one Pakistani and one Indian

It was a late Friday evening in Chicago. After working the full day, I rushed to O’Hare International Airport, to catch a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on my way to Delhi. It was a short impromptu trip to meet my parents and I intended to be back within five days. The past few days had been very hectic at work and I was half hoping that I would be able to catch some sleep in the 14 hours of the first leg of my travel. Of course, an empty middle seat next to mine would be even better, ...

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Google can envision Pakistan-India harmony in less than 4 minutes…can we?

Regarding India-Pakistan relations, Sir Walter Scott in his poem “Lochinvar” captured it the best: “Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide” Replace the river Solway with Indus or Ganges and one gets an idea of the ebb and flow of India-Pakistan relations. I first learnt of it through the most obvious of sources, Indian movies. We were watching a cliché with the usual “dushman mulk sazish” storyline when came the long advertisements and movie reviews that would be a permanent feature of the video cassettes. This was sometime after the Babri Mosque incident and relations between the two states were crumbling. Among the ...

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Pakistani and vacationing in the Middle East? Think again!

I am sure you have had one of those conversations in which you end up making a random plan with a friend. Well, that is what happened to me. I have a friend in Jeddah and while talking to him, we realised that we had not met in a long time and hence, I made a plan to take a short trip to Dubai. He was going to travel from Jeddah and he managed to find a flight but I could not get a ticket. However, I have crossed international borders before by road, to the Far East and to ...

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Things you should consider before deciding to work abroad

Pakistan produces numerous world class students every year. These students excel in a variety of fields including, medicine, engineering, accounting and business. However, due to the political and economic instability leading to high rates of unemployment, a lot of these students are forced to explore employment options abroad.   The idea of shifting to an alien country creates hopelessness and frustration amongst the youth and this leads them to make impulsive and irrational decisions. And, they seldom consider the implications of their rash assessments. For instance, a person accepting a job abroad at a position lower than his qualification or experience ...

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Dear HEC, your degree attestation process is a nightmare

Getting a degree attested – sounds like a simple enough task, doesn’t it? Turns out, it can be an absolutely maddening task, trust me. I had been trying to apply for a visa to Canada, and as part of the process, I traveled to Islamabad from Peshawar to get my Bachelor’s degree attested. This is a necessary step for everyone who wants to apply for a visa to the US and Canada and even for those who are seeking jobs within Pakistan. Before leaving Peshawar, I went through all the necessary requirements listed on the Higher Education Commission (HEC) website. 8:00am I arrived at the HEC office ...

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