"On average, 1,000 to 1,200 people visit the Pakistan Consulate on a daily basis – it’s one of the country’s largest overseas missions after Saudi Arabia providing consular services. These include the issuance of passports, ID card services, issuance of visas, attestation and legalisation of documents, labour and legal issues. Additionally, we are also responsible for promoting economic and commercial cooperation between Pakistan and the UAE.
"Pakistan was the second country to open a consulate in Dubai after the UAE’s independence in 1971. Pakistan and the UAE have maintained brotherly relations and our cooperation in every field, be it political, economic, trade, social or cultural. People-to-people contact is strengthened with each passing day. We are very grateful to the leadership of the UAE and its people for being such gracious hosts to our 1.6-million community in UAE. On the other hand, our community here considers the UAE their second home and have worked hard for its development as well.
"Last year, we began our mobile consular services in other cities in the northern emirates – Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Fujairah on weekends. Our team goes to different cities every Friday on a fixed six-month schedule. Since April 2019, we have catered to around 5,000 applicants through our mobile consular services in these cities and provided different consular services.
"We also help Pakistani blue-collar workers if they have any issues with their work, provide air tickets to the destitute for their return to Pakistan, transportation of dead bodies and transfer of patients back home. The consulate regularly provides legal assistance to Pakistani prisoners and to the community members who desire so."
We recently had the Pakistan International Screen Awards in Dubai. What is the significance of such events in the UAE?
"I attended that event. It was a great initiative to recognise the services of our legends in TV, film and music industry. It also gave the Pakistani Community in UAE a chance to go and meet their super stars. The awards helped raise the profile of our film and TV industry, with more than 120 stars appearing under one roof. It was a good PR initiative to promote a softer image of Pakistan.
"The media nowadays plays a very important role. With the rise of social media, traditional media needs to be more proactive. Social media is such an important tool in making anything seems positive or negative. The YouTubers and bloggers who were commended at the PISA Awards can help promote Pakistan in a very positive way."
Is the consulate active on social media?
"Last year, we launched our social media network. We have Facebook and Twitter accounts and an active website that is regulated and updated every day. We have many followers, and people really appreciate being able to ask questions and receive responses. It’s a great way of sharing and receiving information. We have recently introduced a SMS messaging service and a WhatsApp number for providing information and updates to our community members and getting their feedback. This new services has been very much appreciated. We will keep on trying to introduce more social applications to benefit our people."