Pakistanis feel the pinch of Trump’s travel ban

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Pakistan is among a handful of Muslim countries that are feeling the pinch of United States (US) President Donald Trump’s visa ban about six months in, with 26 per cent fewer non-immigrant visas issued to Pakistanis in 2017 as compared to previous year’s average, according to a Politico analysis.

Trump passed an executive order at the beginning of the year which initially barred travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Sudan. In successive iterations of the ban, Iraq and Sudan were dropped from the list and Chad, North Korea and Venezuela were added to it.

Data collected and analysed by Politico showed a “notable drop” in the number of visas issued to people from Muslim-majority countries overall, in addition to those targeted by Trump’s travel ban, with Arab states among the hardest hit.

Although Pakistan is not on the list of countries that were barred, it ─ along with a few other South Asian countries ─ has also seen a decline in the number of visas issued to travellers.

The issuance of visas to the seven countries initially named in the ban dropped 44pc this year compared to monthly average data from March to August in fiscal year 2016, Politico reported, with Syria and Yemen seeing the steepest declines.

Visitor visas to Arab nations fell 16pc, while the number of visas issued to people from 50 Muslim-majority countries in general dropped 8pc.

Iran witnessed a 37pc decline in the number of visas issued over the six-month period in 2017 compared to March-Aug 2016, whereas Somalia saw a 42pc drop in visas in the same time period, the report said.

Some Muslim countries, however, including the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, were among those that witnessed an increase in non-immigrant visas, the data showed.

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