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Pakistanis use Bosnia to enter Euro zone through back door

“The Bosnian border force claims that 3,000 Pakistani citizens have been fraudulently granted visas through the country’s embassy in Islamabad, enabling them to cut out a big part of the 4,000-mile people-smuggling route from Pakistan into Europe,” according to a report in The Times, UK.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 11.36 PM IST
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Agencies
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UN refugee agency claimed that only 100 Pakistani migrants arrived in Bosnia in January 2019, but that the numbers started rising.
NEW DELHI: In a significant development thousands of Pakistanis are allegedly using Bosnia and Herzegovina in Central Europe to reach the EU zone as illegals.

“The Bosnian border force claims that 3,000 Pakistani citizens have been fraudulently granted visas through the country’s embassy in Islamabad, enabling them to cut out a big part of the 4,000-mile people-smuggling route from Pakistan into Europe,” according to a report in The Times, UK.

“To reach Bosnia, Pakistani migrants would normally have to travel overland through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Macedonia in the hands of traffickers, spending weeks and thousands of pounds in the process and risking arrest, attacks by criminals and even death. With a visa, however, they can fly from Pakistan to Sarajevo, cross the border into Croatia, an EU member, and continue their journey north on the smuggling routes,” the report alleged.

“Despite crackdowns over the past five years by Europol the traffickers still openly tout their business. One Urdu-language group on Facebook offers Bosnian visas with a phone number that customers can contact via Whatsapp, while another offers a route from Bosnia to Italy by taxi, warning that it is a “harsh” journey to attempt on foot.”

UN refugee agency claimed that only 100 Pakistani migrants arrived in Bosnia in January 2019, but that the numbers started rising.

“There was then a sharp increase in arrivals of Pakistanis in July last year, with more than 2,000 arriving that month compared with fewer than 1,000 in June. After that the numbers dropped off slightly and then fell sharply again after October. The Bosnian state prosecutor has opened an investigation into the country’s embassy in Islamabad, while FahrudinRadoncic, the security minister, has seized on the allegations as evidence of a “security threat”,” according to The Times report.

“Mr Radoncic has been pushing to pass a law that would enable all irregular migrants, apart from Syrians, to be deported from Bosnia. Last month he threatened to make the Pakistani ambassador to Bosnia persona non grata if he refused to co-operate.“

Sakib Foric, the Bosnian ambassador to Pakistan, has denied the allegations.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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