Pakistan’s continued ranking as the ‘fourth worst’ passport in the Henley Passport Index raises serious concerns about the country’s global standing and its citizens’ opportunities for international travel. The latest report underscores the urgent need to address the challenges Pakistan faces in diplomacy and international relations to strengthen its passport and improve its global image.
The Henley Passport Index serves as a strong indicator of a country’s diplomatic influence, reflecting its ability to foster positive relations with other countries. A strong passport not only enables seamless travel for citizens, but also opens doors to economic growth, education and cultural exchange. Political instability and security issues have long affected Pakistan’s reputation globally. Although progress has been made in recent years to counter terrorism and promote regional stability, much remains to be done. Building trust and cooperation with neighboring countries and beyond is critical to fostering a positive perception of Pakistan at the international level. In addition, improved economic cooperation could lead to more favorable visa agreements and increase the number of visa-free travel destinations for Pakistani passport holders. Education and cultural exchange play a crucial role in shaping global perceptions. Encouraging academic collaborations and student exchanges and promoting Pakistan’s culture abroad can foster better global understanding. A proactive approach is essential. The government needs to prioritize diplomacy and engage in open dialogue to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings. Pakistan’s commitment to international peacekeeping efforts and participation in multilateral fora will further demonstrate its dedication to global cooperation.
The decline in US passport rankings serves as a cautionary tale that even powerful nations must adapt and evolve to maintain their global influence. Pakistan can learn valuable lessons from such examples and invest in long-term strategies to raise the status of passporting.
Published in The Express Tribune on July 23rd2023.