Kenya suspends visa-free transit agreement with Pakistan, launches crackdown on illegal Pakistanis

Pakistani nationals had been transiting through the East African country to travel to Saudi Arabia.

A man holding a Pakistani passport.
A man holding a Pakistani passport.

Kenya suspended a visa-free transit agreement with Pakistan on Wednesday.

The East African country took this decision after social media sites showed many Pakistani nationals crowding residential areas across its capital Nairobi.

Pakistani nationals have been confined by the Kenyan police into the Waiyaki Real Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya.
Pakistani nationals have been confined by the Kenyan police into the Waiyaki Real Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya. (Edward Kiplimo / Standard Media)

The Kenyan Interior Ministry, which has ordered a crackdown on illegal Pakistani immigrants, decided to revoke the visa-free transit agreement after the influx of South Asian foreigners into the country.

The foreigners were first thought to be Afghans but later turned out to be Pakistanis.

Pakistani nationals have been confined by the Kenyan police into the Waiyaki Real Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya. (Edward Kiplimo / Standard Media)
Pakistani nationals have been confined by the Kenyan police into the Waiyaki Real Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya. (Edward Kiplimo / Standard Media)

The Kenyan Interior Principal Secretary, Karanja Kibicho, has ordered the Kenyan National Police Service to work with the Kenyan Department of Immigration to crack down on illegal foreigners.

According to Kibicho, most of these foreigners are Pakistanis who were transiting through the East African country to travel to Saudi Arabia with valid transit visas issued upon arrival.

Pakistani nationals have been confined by the Kenyan police into the Waiyaki Real Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya. (Edward Kiplimo / Standard Media)
Pakistani nationals have been confined by the Kenyan police into the Waiyaki Real Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya. (Edward Kiplimo / Standard Media)

Kibicho added that the Kenyan government will restrict the number of foreigners travelling through the East African country to “levels that do not pose a risk to Kenya’s national interest.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya has written a letter to the High Commission of Pakistan where it has expressed the Kenyan government’s “regret” that some Pakistanis have “taken advantage of Kenya’s status with these countries concerning the COVID-19 quarantine regulations.”

The Kenyan Foreign Affairs Ministry added that the vast influx of Pakistanis into the East African country threatens to “undermine” Kenya’s agreements with these countries that were put in place to “ensure the continuation of business and travel operations.”

Kenya has now declared that Pakistani nationals would require proper visas on their passports to enter the East African country until further notice.


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