US & UK suspends visa services in Pakistan
US & UK suspends visa and consular services for security reasons
Islamabad, Sep 26: The US embassy on Thursday suspended its visa and
consular services because of security concerns.
"The embassy has
suspended routine consular services, including visa services, beginning today
(Thursday)," an embassy official said.
The suspension of services, the
embassy said, would not affect emergency services for US citizens in
"The embassy will continue to provide emergency services to
Americans requiring such assistance."
The official said the suspension of
visa and consular services was in response to the security environment in
"There had been an attack on Marriott Hotel, which is of great
concern. Therefore, we reviewed the security situation and took the necessary
measures," he said.
Two US troops were killed in the massive Marriott
The embassy has banned US government officials from
visiting major hotels and restaurants in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore
because of fears of new attacks.
Officials have also been advised to
visit markets and other public places only when there is a compelling need to do
The US government personnel were no longer permitted to stay or
frequent major hotels in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, and Peshawar, a warden
notice issued by the embassy said.
All Americans, the new advisory said,
were advised to keep a low profile and take appropriate precautions to ensure
There were fears that further terrorist attacks might take
place in Islamabad, and that markets and restaurants might be among the intended
targets, the embassy cautioned.
The British High Commission had stopped
accepting visa applications on Wednesday after the closure of visa application
centres, run by Gerry International, because of security
Students intending to proceed to UK and US for studies would
suffer the most because of suspension of visa services.
International School, more popularly known as the American School, closed last
week after receiving a "specific threat". The school's branches in Lahore and
Karachi were also closed.
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Private schools in Pindi announce Eid holidays
Rawalpindi: A number of private schools in Rawalpindi have announced Eid holidays ahead of their usual schedule in view of the prevailing
security situation which has created a sense of insecurity not only among
students and their parents but also the institutions'
Leading private schools in Rawalpindi suspended their
operation on Thursday and announced that schools will reopen during the first
week of October after Eid holidays. The decision to close schools earlier than
the holidays announced by the government was taken on Wednesday, it has been
The boosted security at the 'Benazir Bhutto International Airport
on Thursday became a cause of concern for many at homes, offices, shopping malls
and bazaars. The 'Red Alert' at the Islamabad airport panicked the public and
affected normal routine. Due to security situation particularly after the truck
bombing of Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Eid shopping has not picked up
Enthusiasm of Eid shopping at stores and malls in Saddar and other
localities in the cantonment is not seen despite the fact that the Muslim
festival is not very far. Bank Road in Saddar where parking used to be a big
problem for shoppers is not full, if not deserted.
A similar situation
can also be seen on Kashmir Road or Saddar Bazaar. The public has become more
concerned about the security situation and is avoiding busy places.
are no adequate security arrangements seen around shopping centres. Only traffic
wardens are seen controlling traffic at the main intersections of Saddar while
the patrolling of police is almost non-existent. Except for guarding important
public buildings and offices, no extraordinary arrangements have been taken by
the police for the safety and security of the people. Dawn
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