Pakistanis are using Bosnia to enter the EU illegally

Relations between Pakistan and Bosnia have become strained in recent weeks.

A Bosnian police officer escorts immigrants to a migration center in Sarajevo, Photo: EPA/Fehim Demir.

Thousands of Pakistani migrants are allegedly using the back door through Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach the European Union (EU), creating a diplomatic and political crisis in the fractured Balkan Muslim country.

Milorad Dodik, a member of the Bosnian state presidency, and Bosnia’s Security Minister said that the Bosnian ambassador to Pakistan had issued 3000 dubious visas to Pakistani nationals who were now Bosnia and could pose a security risk.

Sakib Foric, the ambassador to Pakistan, has rejected the allegation, asking Dodik and Fahrudin Radoncic, the Security Minister, to make an apology.

Migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan sit inside a tent in a camp Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina | Photo: EPA/Fehim Demir

“The Bosnian Embassy in Pakistan has not issued a single forged visa. We deny all the allegations in the statements of the said officials,” Foric said in a letter sent to the media on a few days back.

He noted that Pakistan was willing to take back its nationals if the information provided by the Bosnian Security Minister is shown to be accurate.

He also admitted that the Pakistani government did not have the correct figures as to how many of its nationals were in Bosnia and that it was not entirely clear to them why the Bosnian government had not recorded their presence and informed Pakistan.

Migrants in front of the Bira temporary reception center in Bosnia, Photo: BIRN

Relations between Pakistan and Bosnia have become strained in recent weeks after Radoncic accused the Pakistani embassy of refusing to co-operate on identifying immigrants from Pakistan who are present in Bosnia.

His ministry also accused the Pakistan ambassador of “irresponsible behavior” and remarked that it “further raises the question of public confidence in his work and his stay in Bosnia. ”

Usually, to reach Bosnia, Pakistani migrants travel through multiple countries in the hands of traffickers, spending months and thousands of pounds in the process, risking arrest, attacks, and even death.

With a visa, however, they can fly from Pakistan to Sarajevo, cross the border into an EU country, and continue their journey north.

  • Last part of this report doesn’t make sense. Bosnia is not part of Schengen, that means anyone flying/traveling from Bosnia to mainland Schengen countries such as Germany or France would need a visa to even board a flight out of Bosnia and would have to go through immigration on arrival.

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