The Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad is learnt to have stopped issuing visa to Pakistani nationals. The move to halt issuance of Bangladesh visa comes amid an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries.

According to Bangladesh media reports, Pakistan has kept pending a visa extension application submitted by Bangladesh diplomat Muhammad Iqbal Hossain, counsellor (press) at Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad, for over four months now.

“You can call it a sign of protest against the Pakistani gesture,” news agency quoted PTI quoted as saying an official in the Bangladeshi foreign ministry.

While the foreign office in Dhaka is yet to make any formal confirmation in this regard or issue any official notification, a Dhaka Tribune report said quoting Hossain: “Issuance of any visa to Pakistani nationals remains suspended as the visa counter in Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad has been closed since last Monday [May 13].”

Hossain had reportedly submitted his visa extension application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan in January 2019. It was sent to the Ministry of Interior later, but there has been no positive response so far, Bangladesh news agency a UNB says in a report quoting an official.

Iqbal is living in Islamabad with his daughter while his wife and son are in Dhaka.

The PTI report said the Pakistani high commission in Dhaka was not processing his family members’ visa applications.

“So far we know, the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka called them to the mission to take visas but when they went there they told them to come later after keeping them waiting for over an hour,” the UNB report said quoting a diplomatic source, adding that this happened thrice to the family.

According to reports, Pakistan apparently delayed the renewal of the visa after Dhaka refused to accept the nomination of the new high commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh.

The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had reportedly proposed Saqlain Syedah as its new envoy to Bangladesh in March 2018. Six months later, Bangladesh apparently verbally notified Pakistan asking for an alternative nomination saying it could not accept Syedah’s nomination. Pakistan has not sent any alternative nomination yet.