Sweden has closed its embassy in Pakistan for an ‘indefinite’ period due to security reasons.
According to Swedish Embassy, it will remain shut for visitors and would not be able to send any documents to its consulates, Gerry centres and on home addresses of its applicants.
The embassy apologizes for the inconvenience but has stated that it prioritizes providing security to its visa applicants and staff. The embassy refuses to tell when the it will resume its operation in Islamabad.
Due to the closure of the Swedish embassy, overseas Pakistanis and students are facing problems. The students who have enrolled themselves for the new academic session in Sweden scheduled to begin in the last week of August are facing hurdles in paying their fees.
Furthermore, overseas Pakistanis are unable to call their families in Sweden as the embassy in Islamabad has been closed. The diplomatic sources said normally the issuance of a Swedish visa takes 4 to 6 months.
According to diplomatic sources, the Swedish Embassy has also been contacted about the issue by the concerned Foreign Office officials.
Secretary Ministry of foreign affairs, Asad Majeed Khan has been apprised of the situation by the overseas Pakistanis and students.
Meanwhile, the sources within the embassy of Sweden said they cannot say anything about the reopening of the embassy at present.
The diplomatic sources said that Sweden has closed its embassy in Islamabad over security fears. They also said that apart from Sweden, the visa applicants are facing difficulties in getting their applications processed at missions of other European countries including Germany and Italy.
The visa applicants are being given interview appointments after several months by the embassies of these European countries, sources added.
Reason behind the Closure of Embassy
Remember that In January 2023, protests were erupted after Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), burned the Holy Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden.
After this act, World Muslim leaders start to show their anger and starts condemning the Desecration of the Holy Book. Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden.
PM Shehbaz Sharif said the garb of the freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. He said this act is unacceptable.
Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, OIC, and Turkey also condemned the Islamophobic act.
Keeping this in view Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States, convened by Pakistan, showed their anger and condemned the recent act of desecration of the Holy Quran by extremists in Sweden and the Netherlands.
Keeping the rising security situation in view Sweden officials decided to close their embassy until further orders.