Spain Slows Visas for Pakistani Youth Day Pilgrims

Authorities Fear Illegal Immigration

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

MADRID, Spain, MAY 13, 2011 ( Pakistanis aspiring to attend World Youth Day are expressing disappointment after a Spanish government decision to suspend issuing visas to would-be pilgrims of that country.

The measure was imposed by the Spanish authorities on the youth day organization team to «avoid the problem of illegal immigration,» UCANews reported.

The event organizers told ZENIT that the suspension does not imply a denial of visas, but rather a meticulous examination by the Spanish authorities of every application.

They explained that the government is being extremely cautious when it comes to issuing visas to individuals from some countries that, in the past, have abused international events, specifically previous World Youth Days, when entire groups of people have stayed illegally in the host country.

In fact, the government is being very cautious with visas for all Pakistanis who want to come to Spain, not only with those who wish to attend the youth event in August.

The event organizers pointed out that the government has issued free visas to all young people from countries that do not belong to the Schengen Area to facilitate their trip to Madrid, but Pakistan’s case is unique given the present situation of international insecurity.

A reliable sponsor

The Catholic Church in Pakistan is negotiating with the Spanish embassy regarding the visa issue.

The vicar general of the Archdiocese of Karachi, Pakistan, said he considers some specific churches responsible — because of their abusive behavior — for the restriction of visas to all Pakistani Catholics who wish to go to Madrid.

He stated: «Many small churches have given approvals that have affected Catholic aspirants.”

Pervez Roderick, secretary of Pakistan’s Catholic Youth Commission, said that the political situation, with a lack of job opportunities and low salaries, is the reason why many young people want to leave the country.

«However, the Catholic Church is a reliable sponsor when it comes to sending Pakistani delegations to international events,” he said. “The majority of pilgrims recommended by us have returned.»

The Catholic Youth Commission confirmed the participation of 12 Catholics from six dioceses.

[With the contribution of Nieves San Martín]
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation