As many as 286 foreign students at Punjab seminaries continue to live in Pakistan despite having their visas expired.
Most importantly, Special Branch field staff discovered their visa status during routine checks on foreign students.
In all, according to sources, the 302 foreign students were studying at seminaries in Punjab. They belong to 26 countries, including India, China, Chad, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Algeria, Uganda, Comoros, Jordan, Senegal, Liberia and Myanmar.
Due to it, concerned authorities have directed their seminaries’ administrations to send their documents to the Ministry of Interior for extension to avoid legal action.
The checks found that 286 students’ visas continue staying in the country without any legal documentation.
In Rawalpindi district, only two of 20 foreign seminary students held valid visas. However, the rest were in the country without them. Among these 18 students, 12 hail from Thailand, two from Malaysia, two from China, one from Kazakhstan and one belong to Philippines.
Most importantly, Special Branch discovered foreign students’ visa expiry status during routine checks.
Nine foreign students have been studying in Gujranwala district, of which four have valid visas. In Attock, all five foreign seminary students do not have valid visas.
Valid visas of foreign students will last up until 2023, sources said.
Of the students with expired visas, 70 are from Thailand, 55 from the Philippines, 31 from Indonesia, 20 each from Malaysia, Sudan and China, 14 each from Kazakhstan and Chad and 11 from Algeria. Three Indian students with expired visas continue studying in Lahore.
Special Branch has asked seminaries’ administrations to send foreign students’ documents to the interior ministry for extention.
Seminaries’ administration have to send visa extension applications to the Ministry of Interior but they didn’t.
The district police have also been directed to coordinate with seminary administrations to ensure foreign students’ security and monitor their movement.
According to a senior security official, willing students seek visa through Pakistani missions abroad and ministries of education and interior. If they issued no-objection certificates and security clearance, then foreign students get visas.
Similarly, procedure has it, when foreign students’ visas expire, seminary administration have to send applications to the Ministry of Interior.
foreign students in Pakistan seminaries