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Dubai: Consular services at the Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai are set to be revamped as the mission is introducing social media platforms for the community to have their issues resolved swiftly.

The existing dilapadated building will also be demolished to pave way for the a multi-purpose complex.

“We are going to launch various social media channels including twitter and facebook accounts for the consulate to enhance our service level and to interact with the huge number of Pakistani expatriate community in the UAE,” said Ahmed Amjad Ali, newly appointed Consul General of Pakistan in Dubai.

Ali told Gulf News in his first interview after taking charge of his office in Dubai last month, that he plans to introduce a host of new services to make it easy for the Pakistani community in the UAE to avail themselves of various consular services. “We will launch our twitter and Facebook services on March 23 while a new website offering comprehensive information about services we offer will also be launched soon.”

With the launch of new channels, the menace of long waiting queues for applicants at the consulate will end. Currently, around 800 to 1000 applicants visit the consulate daily for various consular services.

New Consulate building

Another good news is, the Consul General added, thatthe Pakistan government has approved construction of a new building for the consulate. “The construction work on the new multi-purpose complex will start with a couple of year as currently we are working on various logistics issues,” he said.

The consulate will temporarily be moved to a new location, which will be announced as soon, while the formalities are met. Then, the existing building and the attached house of the consul general will be demolished to pave way for a new complex. The new building will have two multipurpose halls. One hall will be used as a waiting area for visitors along with the consular services counters, while the other hall with the capacity of 300 to 400 seating will be used for community events.

The building will also have offices, the consul general’s residence and parking facility.

He said there was an immediate need to expand the facilities at the consulate because the existing consulate building was built in 1982 when the population of Pakistanis in the UAE was around 120,000 but now it has increased to around 1.6 million. Also the building is old and falling apart.

Mobile Consular Services

Consul General Ali said that he would also introduce mobile consular services starting with once a month visits to other emirates including Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Sharjah. “The aim is to cater to community members who cannot come to the consulate due to their work schedule. The mobile services including renewal of passport, identity cars, attestations and others will be offered over the weekends.”

Emergency numbers:

Ali said that he would soon introduce emergency numbers to provide 24/7 emergency services to the community.

A fully equipped help desk will also be set up the consulate to provide proper guidance to visitors who come for various services.

There will be a full time duty officer who will only ensure offering of consular services smoothly and listen to the grievances of people.

Jail Committee

The Consul General said that a committee comprising of members of the consulate and the Dubai Police have already been set up to provide help to Pakistani prisoners. “We will have the first meeting of the committee on March 26 to discuss issues of Pakistani prisoners and ways to help them.

“We are working with the police in Dubai and Northern Emirates to help repatriate Pakistanis prisoners who have completed their jail terms or in jails in minor crimes or non-payment of fines.”

He urged the community members to approach the consulate in case they need any help in such cases. “We can provide legal help to the destitute and those who cannot afford to pay,” he assured.

He said that there are around 2000 prisoners in jails in Dubai and Northern Emirates. Around 1.2 million Pakistanis live in Dubai and Northern Emirates, out of total 1.6million Pakistanis living in the UAE.

Pakistani workforce in the UAE

Consul General Ali said that though most Pakistani expatriates comprise of blue-collar workers, the trend is changing. “For the last few years, more skilled workers, professionals and educated people working in the mid-management are coming to the UAE in addition to a huge influx of businessmen,” he noted.

Who is Ahmed Amjad Ali

Ahmed Amjad Ali, the newly appointed Consul General in Dubai, is a career diplomat. He holds a master degree in International Law, Maritime disputes and International Boundaries. He joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1996.

He held various diplomatic assignments in Pakistani missions abroad including: Kuwait (1999-2002), Frankfurt (2005-2009), Bangkok (2009-2014) and Bradford (2016-2019). He has also served at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Islamabad) as Protocol Officer (1998-1999), Section Officer (2002-2005) and Director (2014-2015 & 2016).