Dubai: A Pakistani expatriate on a routine holiday to Romania with valid documents was stopped at the Bucharest airport and sent back after he was left stranded at the airport for two days.
Amir Bashir had planned the trip four months in advance, applying for the tourist visa from the Romanian Embassy in the UAE in August and receiving it in October.
The 29-year-old office administrator working for a construction firm in Dubai took a flight to Bucharest on November 28 and it all seemed normal until he landed at the Bucharest International Airport in the wee hours of November 29.
“When I landed at the airport and entered the arrivals lounge, there were long queues at the passport control desks. The queues moved smoothly and nobody was questioned on anything. When my turn came, I handed my passport to the immigration officer. After having a look at my passport, the officer asked me to wait. Within a few minutes, another officer came up to me and told me that I cannot enter Romania, and asked me to go back,” said Bashir, narrating the beginning of his ordeal.
According to Bashir, when he asked for the reasons for being refused entry, he was not given any answer.
“The officer was quite aggressive and would neither listen to me nor understand what I was trying to say. They could hardly communicate in English, but what bothered me was that I was being treated like a criminal. I asked them several times, but never gave me any reason for refusing entry. I was then transferred to the transit area of the airport, where I languished for two days with little food and no place to sleep,” added Bashir, who has been to Europe several times before.
Bashir alleges that when he finally settled down in the transit area after some fuss, he realised he was not the only one receiving a cold shoulder by the Romanian immigration officials.
“Initially I thought it was only me, but then I saw an Indian, a Bangladeshi, two Albanians and four Africans who were also held in the transit area. They were all refused entry for no reason. I had planned a four-day trip and I was scheduled to return on December 2, so they told me that I will stay at the airport till my scheduled flight or I could book another flight to go back early,” said Bashir, who eventually rescheduled his return flight and saved himself from two additional days of harassment.
However, his alleged mistreatment didn’t end there.
“When I rescheduled my flight and informed the airport authorities, my passport and other documents were handed over to the airline staff and I was put on board like a criminal. When we landed in Dubai, the airline staff refused to hand over my documents to me and I was taken to the immigration officer at the Dubai airport. When the immigration officer saw their reason for refusal, he was shocked as their document said I had no hotel reservations, while my papers showed I had one,” said Bashir, who has now raised the issue with the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Bashir says he has travelled to several countries in Europe and other parts of the world without any trouble, questioning the grounds on which the Romanian officials refused him entry.
Gulf News sought a response from the Romanian Embassy and Consulate in the UAE on the matter, but received no response.
Source Credit: Gulf News