Pakistan and US Restrict Diplomats' Travel, Adding New Strain on Ties

The movement of Pakistani diplomatic staff's limited to 40 kilometres from their posts

The US has approved the appointment of a prominent Pakistani investment banker Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as the country's new envoy in Washington, media reports said on Thursday, amidst the impasse over imposition of restrictions on the movement of diplomats in each others' country.

The letter also confirmed that Pakistan "has been informed that the new travel permission regime for Pakistani diplomats and officials in the USA would be implemented from "11 May 2018".

They would be required to take formal permission at least five day before moving beyond the prescribed limit.

As Pakistan imposed new travel restrictions on the United States diplomats, the American cargo would now have to undergo scanning at Pakistani airports.

Under the new restrictions, special treatment for US embassy and consulate staff at the airports ends.

The US government has sent an official notice in this regard to the Pakistani embassy.

Pakistan's Ambassador to America, Mr Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry further clarified that the restrictions applied to Pakistani diplomats falling under the A1 and A2 categories.

Ambassador Chaudhry said the travel restrictions cover two-tier officials stationed in the United States bearing visa categories of A1, and A2 and also the members of their families, including children.

Pakistan's letter outlined the list of concessions it has withdrawn from the USA diplomatic mission.

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

That apart, Pakistan said that U.S. diplomats who used biometrically unverified and unregistered cell phones in the country would not be allowed this privilege any more.

He further accused the worldwide bodies of having double standards in terms of fighting terrorism and disregarding Pakistan's sacrifices for curbing terrorism.

The US fired back saying that Pakistani diplomats in Washington D.C. would be facing similar restrictions.

The expanding war of restrictions on diplomats has become an "accidental nationalistic rallying point against perceived US manipulation of Pakistan", Hussain added.

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