Foreign minister contradicts himself on Nigerian visa scam

June 6th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 6 (IANS) Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has been speaking in different voices on an alleged visa scam involving Nigerian drug lords and Pakistani diplomats in the African nation. On Thursday, he told the National Assembly during question hour that no irregularities had been found in the visas issued by the Pakistan High Commission in Abuja.

However, just two weeks ago, the minister had ordered the Pakistani high commissioner in Abuja to appear before a panel of the Senate to answer charges related to the scam and had also promised to take action against the officials involved.

On Thursday, Qureshi told the National Assembly that the high commission in Nigeria has been following the procedure laid down for issuing visas.

“No irregularity has been reported so far in the visa record of the high commission,” Qureshi maintained.

“The statement is contradictory to what foreign office officials have been conceding in the meeting of the Senate body on narcotics where they admitted that some irregularities might have been committed at Abuja after massive arrests of foreigners in Pakistan,” The News said Friday.

“All those who were arrested in Pakistan carrying drugs were given business visas by Pakistani diplomats posted in Nigeria.

“The Senate body had even accused some diplomats in the foreign office of involvement in the drug visas scam as it was not possible to issue business visas to such a large number of foreigners without their connivance,” the newspaper added.

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