2018: Bahrain Claims Arrest of Iranians over Entry with Forged Passports, Unannounced Ban on Pakistanis’ Entry
2019-01-08 - 3:22 ص
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahraini authorities reported that they arrested on September 8, 2018, 14 Iranians who allegedly entered the country using forged Asian passports and fake names. This was the first time such an allegation was made.
The authorities also mentioned, in a statement, that the arrested have Iranian citizenships and bought forged Asian passports to enter Bahrain with the help of Bahrainis of Iranian descent, according to their claim.
They also announced that they summoned for questioning the arrested persons' employers.
One day later, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Bahram Qasimi said that no document or evidence proving that the arrested are actually Iranian had been presented.
Qasimi also stated that the report cannot be confirmed due to a lack of details. Bahrain has severed its relations with Iran since January 2016.
Several days after this announcement, the Bahraini Ministry of Interior released documents which it claimed belong to these Iranians who had entered the country "using forged Asian passports".
However, a report was released by the King's consultant Nabeel Al-Hamr which contradicted the previous statement. In an interview with a Saudi newspaper on September 30, 2018, he said that some of the Iranians had entered Bahrain using legitimate not forged passports by bribing some unnamed "officials". "We do not know why they are in our country," he added.
During this time, and only 3 days after the Interior Ministry's announcement, a Pakistani news website reported that a number of Pakistani nationals said that they were prevented from entering Bahrain. According to a report by the Gulf Daily News, Bahraini authorities imposed a temporary ban on Pakistanis from entering the country.
The newspaper also reported a local company official saying that they have been experiencing difficulties in requesting visas for Pakistanis at the Labour Market Regulatory Authority and that these requests have been suspended.
The newspaper went on to say that a number of Pakistanis were summoned to police stations to give their fingerprints. Many Pakistani citizens also said that they were asked to go to police stations with their original passports and IDs, where their fingerprints were taken.
A Pakistani banker also stated that all Pakistanis were being summoned for this procedure, adding that he knew that a no-objection certificate was to be issued after this investigation. He also mentioned that some companies were being summoned to give details about certain employees.
The newspaper further reported that some people have connected this incident to the Ministry of Interior's claim regarding the arrest of 14 Iranian nationals, who allegedly entered the country illegally with forged Asian passports.
On 28 August, the Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that he hopes that Bahrain will reduce their restrictions and security measures on his people after meeting with the Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
A couple of months later, the Bahraini Ministry of Interior said in its statement that it had caught a cell responsible for forging passports, which had been receiving "facilitations" from government officials.
The statement goes on to say that the Ministry had referred 28 people belonging to different nationalities, including government officials, for the crime of forming a group with the intention of forging passports, travel stamps, visas, and residencies for persons from a number or foreign and Gulf countries in return for high prices to help them travel freely through countries.
The main accused person is an Arab national who "was able to gather large amounts of money from selling these forged documents from year 2012 to 2018".
This person has offered many state employees in Bahrain and one other Gulf country large amounts of money as bribes to help facilitate the entry of these individuals holding fake travel documents.
The Ministry also stated that the 28 arrested in Bahrain work for the government, in state agencies, processing offices as well as private companies.
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