It may be news for many Pakistani origin residents living in Melbourne that a consulate office in Melbourne is operational whose purpose includes providing visa services to people of the Pakistani community living in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. However, the reality is very different.
Since its official inaugural opening ceremony that was held in August 2017 (hosted by ex-High commissioner H.E. Naela Chohan), the consulate has since organised two further social events with selected members of the Pakistani community who have a prominent presence in social media or in the community but are not necessarily affiliated with the community at grass-roots level. Many people are being left stranded without adequate services being provided. As it has been experienced by the community of Sydney and Canberra historically that all consulate officials serve themselves at large rather than providing the services they are paid to do. The Melbourne Pakistani Consulate is a coming of age story. They consist of officials that are very similar to their Canberra and Sydney counterparts. They are more so interested in building their professional and social networks and relationships with the “selected” Pakistani community whilst ignoring the professional consulate needs of the community. Many members of the Pakistani community have voiced their struggles to contact consulate for various issues without any response from the Consulate Office. This has left many people without adequate information and distressed. Whilst the Consulate members continue to mingle with the elitist behind closed doors the initial purpose for which the Melbourne Consulate office was opened is being ignored.
The initial announcement of the opening of the Melbourne Consulate office which was circulated through social media in closed groups and not to the wider community. The current contact phone number that is stated for the Consulate office is also currently disconnected. The new contact details have not yet been updated on their website neither through their social media portal. Pak Awaaz has tried contacting the Pakistani High Commission and Consulate Office without success.
Perhaps it can be suggested that along-side or instead of pursuing their alternative agendas the Consulate Office provides the services they are paid to do i.e; provide visa and other services to the Australian Pakistani Community. When a Consulate office serves themselves and provides personal services to selected members of the community, rather than the actual people it is designed for, it may be fair to say that is not a Pakistani Consulate Office but a “Selected Pakistani” Consulate Office and the VIP culture that many Pakistani residents despise enters Australian borders.