Saturday, 2 July 2016

How To Apply For NICOP At Pakistan Embassy In London

By Sikander Hayat

I needed to apply for a smart NICOP for my son and went to Pakistan Embassy with the required documents. You need to book an appointment before turning up at the embassy. The web address for booking the appointment is  . The address for London embassy is 34-36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN . The nearest tube station is Knightsbridge. I had an appointment at 1500 hours and reached there with the appointment confirmation printout.

You need to have you the following docs with you if you are a British National

  1. You appointment printout
  2. Your original detailed birth certificate & photocopy
  3. British Passport & photocopy
  4. Pakistani passport of your parents and photocopy
  5. If your parents do not have the passport than their NICOP and photocopy

There are six steps to the process :

  1. You meet first team which confirms that you actually have an appointment and check that you have the required documents. They then issue you a token which you use to make the payment.

  1. The next step is to make the payment for your application. The guy who takes payments sits in the same room as the team mentioned above. You can pay by card or cash. You can pay for urgent application or normal. There is a little bit of fee difference between the two.

  1. Then you go back to the team in the first step and they enter your name in their queue system. Then you wait for your named to be called.

  1. When you are called, you go to the adjacent room and this is where your picture is taken and you give your biometrics/ signature.

  1. You wait again and then after some time you are called to sit with data entry officer who enters your details (address, your relationship with Pakistan e.t.c) in their database.

  1. You are given a completed form with your photo and other information to sign and that is it.

In my case, I chased them after nearly two months on NADRA London telephone helpline and I was told that they have lost the supporting documents and want me to come in again with the original plus photocopies. Now I have to take a day off work to take the original documents back to them. This is very incompetent behaviour as they can’t even complete a simple application. Most of the staff in the embassy are appointed not because of their skills but as reward by the political masters back in Pakistan. Let's see how this ends.

I would urge you to post your positive / negative experience at the Pakistan Embassies in UK and other parts of the world so that we can improve the process and help others who want to use these services.

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

How Immigration From Eastern Europe Caused Brexit?

By Sikander Hayat

23rd of the June 2016 will always be remembered by the people of United Kingdom. People have spoken and they want out. United Kingdom is out of the EU and Pound is down to the value it has not seen in many decades. This is the most momentous and seismic event after 1945. What is going
to happen is anyone's guess as most people are coming to grips with the new reality. The sheer weight of immigration forced British people to leave European Union.
In the short to medium term, British economy will come under great stress from the uncertainty created by the Brexit. There is a danger that jobs will
be moved from London to European Union centres and London may lose a lot of business to rival cities within the Union.
It will take at least two years for the negotiations to conclude between UK and EU on terms of exit. David Cameron has resigned but will stay on till October when new PM will be selected who will trigger article 50. Article
50 states that if a state wants to leave EU it shall notify the community and this notification will start the two year clock on the two year period.
Immigration was the biggest and single most important issue which lead to Brexit as 3,000,000 Eastern Europeans have moved to UK in last 10
years. This has put huge pressure on the public services including schools, hospitals, jobs and housing. EU’s refusal to accommodate UK on the issue of free movement of people has lead to this decision by British people.
EU should now learn the lessons and start listening to concerns of the remaining member states before it is too late.  

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Who Killed Amjad Sabri?

Famous qawali singer Amjad Sabri has been murdered in Karachi. At the moment motives of the murderers are unknown and it is not known who has committed this heinous act. Pakistan is a dangerous place for anyone but for people who are well known, it can be a hellhole. Son of Chief Justice Sindh High Court has been abducted couple of days with his future in deep uncertainty and now Amjad Sabri has been killed. 
In a normal country one can think of reasons for such oppression but in Pakistan there are so many different actors at work that it is near impossible to find out the identity of the culprit or their reason for such barbarity. Amjad Sabri was a singer and it is hard to think what wrong he did to upset anyone. Most of his singing was about the praise of Allah and his prophet and still he was not good enough to be allowed to live. Was this a case of extortion related killing, religiously motivated or politics had something to do with it, is currently unknown. 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Is Watford The Most Expensive Place To Buy Property Outside London?

Watford is a small town north of London and one of the most expensive places to buy property outside London. Some of the areas are even more expensive than London like Nascot Woods, Cassiobury Park e.t.c.  The number one primary school according to Good School Guide rankings  is
Nascot Wood primary school.  The number one secondary school in Watford is Watford Grammar School for Boys .
Watford is a small town but it has many independent coffee shops and small independent retailers which sell fresh vegetables, meat and fruit. Watford football club has been
recently promoted to premier league and match days are very busy affairs as all car parks near the stadium are full to the brim and town centre becomes a host to home and away fans.
Some of the retailers who sell asian groceries are Best Foods and Gill Butchers ( As the
name suggests, Gill Butchers sell meat and in my view have the best quality Halal meat in all of Watford). Nandos in Watord town centre also sell Halal food and there are Turkish & Pakistani food joints which sell quite decent food.
House prices in Watford have gone through the roof and almost all of Watford id out of
reach for first time buyers. There is such a shortage of housing that the moment a property comes on the market it gets snapped up straight away by experienced and wealthy investors.
Parking is a huge issue in Watford as you sometimes it becomes impossible to find
parking in streets near your home and you have to park few streets away from home. On Sunday evenings even that becomes impossible.
Saying all that, most schools are really good but if you are thinking about buying a family house, don’t make Watford your first choice.

Train journey from Watford junction to London Euston is about 22 minutes and really easy to commute from Watford to London.
There are two main mosques in Watford. One in North Watford and the other near the town centre.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

What Will Be The Impact Of Brexit On British Pakistanis?

By Sikander Hayat 

Impact of Brexit on British Pakistanis is going to be huge. There are sizeable Pakistani communities living in United Kingdom, Norway, Spain, Ireland and other Western European countries. What does the future hold for the cohesion of these communities. Would Brexit stop them from interacting, living and working. I guess this point is true for anyone living in Britain and the rest of EU but now that the third/fourth generation of Pakistanis are growing up, leaving now will be huge blow to their future prospects.
It is not out of the question that UK will suffer an economic loss if it leaves EU.
The most painful truth is that current debate in UK has moved away from economy to the toxic subject of immigration. Now immigration is at the front, right and centre of the Brexit debate and because of this toxic environment, MP Jo Cox was murdered by a right wing terrorist in the city of Leeds. That terrorist believed that Ms Cox was pro immigration and therefore a traitor to the British cause. Ms Cox paid with her life for standing up for the rights of human beings regardless of their colour or race and this act was too much for her killer. Leeds is a city in the north of England with a large Pakistani community and four terrorists who blew themselves up in London tube were from Leeds’s Pakistani community.

White working class in places like Leeds blame their economic woes on influx of immigrants. They do not want to consider the greater forces of globalization at work as for them immigrants are the living embodiment of their pain and suffering. For white working class it does not matter if Pakistanis they resent are third/fourth generation UK nationals.
British Pakistanis have an added problem of being Muslims as current global perspective is that most if not all Muslims are either terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.
Global events like San Bernadino shootings and killing of 49 people in a gay bar in orlando by a deranged psychopath Omar Mateen feed this narrative. Although the jury is still out on Omar Mateen who was homosexual himself (his former wife has given an interview confirming that they split up because Omar Mateen was gay and a frequent visitor to the gay bar where he carried out this massacre).

This perception that Muslims are terrorists is wholly incorrect as 99.99% are hard working people with Britain as their only home and this is where they will end their lives.

Brexit debate is causing huge rifts among the majority and minority ethnic groups in UK and even if Britain choses to remain in the EU, the scars left by this toxic debate will take a long time to heal.

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