Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visa-less in Pakistan…

The past few months have not been easy for us with my father being unwell, the authorities taking over three months to renew our visas and, of course, the pain of losing three of our feline friends.

My father fell ill towards the end of August. I was unable to travel because our visas had expired. Like always, we had applied for an extension well ahead of time but the authorities were in no hurry to stamp our passports. Week after week, I hoped to get out, my husband even put in a word with people-who-matter on both sides of the border, yet the extensions were nowhere in sight.

In the middle of September my father was hospitalised. I was given the option of flying out and then re-applying for a visa from India. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. What if I was denied a visa to Pakistan? Fortunately, my father got better and I postponed my trip by a week, in the hope that the visas will come through by then.

We finally got our passports back in mid-October, well over three months after we had applied, and I took the first flight to India. I froze when I learnt details of how ill my father had been. He had been hospitalized not for a routine “check up”, as I had been made to believe, but because he had had two heart attacks!

I am just back after spending three weeks with him. I am happy that he is up and about again, and I hope this time we run out on our term before our visas run out on us. 


  1. I wonder how you are coping up with this type of lethargy from the authorities.

    Take care.

  2. It was sad to know what u went thru... i hope ur dad recovered nd is better now...
    Praying for your dad to get healthy and fit...
    have a safe stay..

  3. To be fair to Pakistan, VISA processing delays are bane to any one living abroad. Pakistan unlike the US of A atleast gives VISA on their soil and not from over seas as a pre-requisite.
    I wish it was different but having suffered similar delays from German and US consulates, this I am sure is not specific to pakistan.

  4. First of all Belated Eid Mubarak Ms. Hassan.

    Secondly I'm sorry to hear abt your dad and I am happy to note that he is doing fine. However, it was smart thinking on the part of your family not to tell you the full details of his illness else it would have made life miserable for you.

    Thirdly, when r u guys expected to receive your next postings? Your posts seem to have a hint of desperation of late and rightly so too.



  5. Sandhya, thanks for reading. I do so wish it was just lethargy :)

    Shruti, agree with you. But a visa for an Indian in Pakistan takes the madness to another level...

    Dudenator, want to "desperately" avoid the above-mentioned madness again! Thanks for the Eid wishes...

  6. Hey there, sorry to know. If you require some old style running around to be done in Bhopal, please count on me. Would be glad to help.

  7. Bhopale....and I did a little old-style Bhopali check on you...but no one seemed to have a clue :)

  8. Oh...this is not nice to hear. I hope your father is doing well now.

  9. By the way, just wanted to share this with you. Have you checked out the current edition of Granta? If not, please do's a special edition on Pakistan which includes short stories, essays and poems by Pakistani writers writing in English. I am reading it. Awesome!

  10. Indra, my father's better, thank you.
    Thanks for the tip off on the special on Pakistan, will surely check it out.

  11. I know exactly how you feel. When my family and I visited India back in 2004 to meet some relatives, we had to register with the police everyday which included all the women and children. We were also on occasion blatantly followed by police dressed as civilians. It was disgusting.

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