The irony of having an ‘iron brother’ — My failed quest for a Chinese visa

BY SYED KAMAL MUSTAFA

Hitchhiking a few months ago from Europe to Pakistan, I stopped in Tbilisi — the capital of Georgia — where I met two Chinese travellers in the hostel I booked myself in.

The duo could barely contain their excitement when I told them I was from Pakistan. We conversed about everything under the sun — our trips, future plans, and of course, the friendly relations between Pakistan and China.

And so, predictably, we came to a point where we decided to visit each other’s country.

I was, however, disappointed to learn that my Chinese friends could not visit Pakistan because in order to acquire a tourist visa, they needed an invitation from a travel agent in Pakistan. To top this, they were required to pay a sum of $300 for the invite.

“What sort of friendship is this? Where you can’t even allow your friends into your country without such an exorbitant amount and a sponsor?” remarked my Chinese friends.

Embarrassed, I checked the website of the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing which said, Pakistan Embassy does not receive any visa and processing fee from Chinese nationals”.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236765/

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