Ireland has decided not to grant visas to thousands of Pakistani Christians. The consulates in Karachi and Islamabad turned down applications by families wishing to attend the upcoming World Meeting of Families (WMF) in Dublin from 21 to 26 August. Pope Francis will be present at the event. About 10,000 families from around Pakistan had applied; 600 from the Archdiocese of Karachi alone. All requests were rejected. Even clergymen saw their application refused.
As reported by asianews.it, The Irish consulate in Karachi said that it analysed the reasons for going to Ireland and other criteria, including family circumstances, financial situation, employment details, travel reasons and accommodation in Ireland. Church authorities had screened potential pilgrims, and His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Coutts of Karachi only granted letters of recommendation to those who were not interested in seeking asylum.
Many Catholics are outraged at how the whole thing was handled. Samuel Sarfraz, who works at a pharmaceutical company in Multan (Punjab), sold a residential plot to raise 300,000 rupees (US,420) for non-refundable visa applications and registration fees for his family of three children to attend the Irish event.