Pakistani families denied visas to see Pope Francis

Anger over wasted fees after Ireland rejects applications for the World Meeting of Families

Christians in Pakistan have been left reeling after the Irish government denied them visas to attend the upcoming World Meeting of Families. About 10,000 families applied from all over the country — 600 from Karachi Archdiocese alone — for the Aug. 21-26 event in Dublin that will be attended by Pope Francis. All were refused visas. Father Anthony Abraz, parish priest of Good Shepherd Church in Karachi, is among six priests who had visa applications rejected for providing no evidence of a connection with, or of traveling to, similar events in the past. “The visa officer has found insufficient evidence of strong family, social, economic or other obligations to return to your home country,” stated the response to families from Ireland’s consulate in Karachi, which also expressed dissatisfaction at their purpose for travelling to Ireland, financial situation, family circumstances, employment details, travel history, host in Ireland and itinerary.  “All applications should have been assessed on a case-by-case basis,” Father Abraz said, adding that two groups of laity received letters with the same text. “We had carefully selected potential pilgrims, including school principals and NGO directors, from the executive class. Cardinal Joseph Coutts of Karachi only granted letters of recommendation to those who were not interested in seeking asylum.”

Source: Pakistani families denied visas to see Pope Francis-


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