Pakistan to have new envoy as USA imposes restrictions

Sergio Conner
May 12, 2018

As diplomatic tussle escalated following Trump administration's travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats, Islamabad slapped reciprocal limitations on United States diplomats in the country.

According to the notification issued by the ministry issued to the US Embassy in Islamabad, the reciprocal measures include travel restrictions and treating US diplomatic cargo at Pakistani airports and ports in accordance with the Vienna Convention's Article 27 "which does not provide for an exemption from scanning".

Starting today, the Foreign Office said, American diplomats will also have to take prior permission for travelling - something which was earlier done only in special cases.

Pakistan on Thursday had confirmed that its diplomats in the United States will face travel restrictions from May 11.

The letter said permission is required if a visit is planned to "designated prohibited/restricted view of the security imperatives".

The tensions had escalated to an extent that the U.S. had introduced short duration visas to the Pakistani officials.

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A former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, Jalil Abbas Jilani, said in a tweet the restrictions are "a sign of strayed" relations and called on both countries to fix them.

Pakistan has stopped Hall from leaving the country and demanded the U.S. to withdraw his diplomatic immunity, so that legal action could be initiated against him.

Pakistan's letter outlined the list of concessions it has withdrawn from the USA diplomatic mission.

Both developments come amid increasing tensions between the United States and Pakistan, which were once close allies in war against terrorism. He accused the Pakistanis of giving safe haven to terrorists the fighting in neighboring Afghanistan.

Addressing a meeting of the Pakistani American Congress on Capitol Hill, a Congressman, Donald Norcros, called for dialogue to ease tension, adding, "And if (by imposing those restrictions) we are inhibiting conversation, I do not think that's a smart thing to do".

Pakistan's relations with the USA have consistently deteriorated since President Donald Trump announced a new South Asia strategy that blamed Islamabad for covertly supporting terrorist groups and the Taliban fighting local, as well as US -led foreign forces, in neighboring Afghanistan.

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