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Pakistani nationals 'summoned for document verification'

Bahrain News
Tue, 11 Sep 2018
By Raji Unnikrishnan


PAKISTANIS living in Bahrain are reportedly being summoned to police stations for fingerprint verification.

Several Pakistani nationals told the GDN that they were asked to report to their nearest police station with their original passport and CPR, where they were made to provide impressions of their fingers and palms manually.

Members of the Pakistani community also took to social media to talk about the security process which has allegedly been going on since last month.

The GDN reported on Sunday that 14 Iranians were arrested after entering Bahrain with fake Asian passports and under false names.

The General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science director general said at the time that the employers of the Iranians have also been summoned for questioning following the arrests.

“I got a call from the Muharraq Police Station two weeks ago asking me to go with my original passport and CPR for verification,” said a 30-year-old Pakistani banker, who has been in Bahrain for less than two years.

“I went there to find at least 30 Pakistanis waiting in queue, and one by one we were asked if the documents were original.

“Then they took the fingerprints manually, after rubbing a black ink on both my palms and each of my fingers and palms were placed on blue and white forms.

“I had lost my passport in 2017 and the present one was reissued after police verification, hence, I guessed that the verification was being done for new passports, but I learned that this was not the case.

“It had nothing to do with the working class because I told the policemen I am a banker but they said it made no difference.

“All Pakistanis are being summoned for this verification and I also learn that soon a no-objection-certificate will be issued after the verification.

“I was also informed that some companies have been contacted to provide details of select employees.”

A similar experience was shared by an executive who works in a travel and tour firm, who said he was among a group summoned to the Budaiya Police Station last month.

“I heard from friends that they are still being called in for (verification of documents), maybe they are doing it area-wise and in groups,” said the 32-year-old man.

“Someone told me it has to do with the fake passport issue exposed by the government and hence all Asians will be called for verification sooner or later.”

Another long-term resident, who has been living in Bahrain since he was two months old, said he was among nearly 50 people who were summoned to the Budaiya Police Station at the same time.

“All the people were from the same company I worked in and included all levels of employees,” said the 38-year-old business development manager.

“I asked the police why they were doing the fingerprint exercise as it was already given to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, but I was told to assume that it was the LMRA doing it again.

“I was also asked general questions about my studies and family, and finally I was pictured holding the two documents.

“The process was not too long but the wait was and I wish we were openly told what was happening.”

Police officials and Pakistani diplomats could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The GDN reported that many Pakistanis claimed they were denied entry into Bahrain at the King Fahad Causeway during last month’s Eid Al Adha holidays.

The allegations were made despite Pakistan Embassy head of chancery and charge d’affaires Murad Wazir twice dismissing that a ban had been imposed on Pakistani nationals trying to enter Bahrain.

However, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on August 28, following a conversation with his Bahraini counterpart Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, that he hoped Bahrain would ease the “visa restrictions and security measures” on his nationals.

The GDN yesterday learned that entry restrictions for Pakistanis at the causeway have been eased with many people, who earlier said they were denied entry, confirming that they could easily travel between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia again.

However, people with blue-collar jobs claimed they continued to face the ban.

raji@gdn.com.bh

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