Has Italy issued 15,000 visas for Pakiatan?
Islamabad: Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese’s statement regarding issuance of visa to Pakistanis has made headlines in the country a day after dozens of Pakistanis lost their lives when a boat carrying illegal immigrants capsized off the coast of Italy.
The Italian diplomat said his country issued visas to over 15,000 Pakistani citizens last year but some media outlets published his statement to give the impression that the visas have been issued in 2023.
The ambassador actually said Italy his country plans to issue more visas to Pakistanis this year, without stating the number.
Speaking to a local broadcaster, Ferrarese revealed that the Pakistani community in Italy transferred €1 billion to Pakistan in 2022.
At least 60 migrants, including 11 children and a newborn baby, died after their overloaded boat sank early on Sunday in stormy seas off Italy’s southern Calabria region.
A large proportion of people seeking to reach European shores cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Italy.
Far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who came to power in October vowing to stem the flow of migrants reaching Italian shores, said “The government is committed to preventing (migrant boat) departures and, with them, this type of tragedy.”