Officials from the Netherlands foreign office have announced that the country’s embassy in Pakistan’s federal capital, Islamabad is being closed down due to security reasons, confirm media reports. All the interviews for visa applications have also been postponed until further notification. Henceforth, no visa applications from Pakistan will be entertained by the embassy.
A government source from the interior ministry, under the condition of anonymity, stated that the decision was taken due to the prevailing security uncertainties following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Asia Bibi’s case.
He added that the closure is temporary but for an unknown period of time.
It should be mentioned here that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had on October 31 acquitted Asia Bibi in a 10-year-old blasphemy case in which she had been awarded the death penalty by the lower courts.
The decision had caused violent protests across the country which brought Pakistan to a grinding halt for a couple of days.
Following the protests, the government made a deal with the protesters and assured that it would place Asia’s name on Exit Control List (ECL) and won’t let her fly out until the apex court gives its verdict on the review petition filed by one of the protesters.
On November 8, Asia Bibi was released from jail and was shifted to Islamabad.
There were reports that the Netherlands government was interested to provide an honorary citizenship to Asia. However, there was no confirmation either from Pakistan or the Dutch government.