The brewing diplomatic tussle between Pakistan, US

Islamabad: The diplomatic tiff between the United States (US) and Pakistan is brewing up like coffee, gradual-yet-strong and perhaps tad bitter.

According to Dawn, Pakistan received the notification from the US in mid-March, which imposes restrictions on the movement of the Pakistani diplomats, posted in Washington DC and at consulates in other American cities.

The Pakistani diplomats will need to apply for permission at least five days ahead of an intended travel outside the imposed 25 miles radius.

The restrictions, which apparently are conditional in nature, are set to come into effect on May 1 if “certain issues remained unresolved.”

The notice has been shared with the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC and has also been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. According to The Dawn, the US State Department has denied that there are restrictions on the movement of the Pakistani diplomats.

“I can confirm that there are no restrictions on travel for Pakistani diplomats in the United States,” the report quoted an unnamed spokesperson of the US State Department, as saying.

But, on being asked if the restrictions will come into affect in the near future, the official said that, “Beyond that, we have nothing to announce at this time.”

Interestingly, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Embassy, endorsed a similar response, denying the existence of the restrictions at the moment, adding that they have no information about such retsrictions been imposed in the future.

On that note, the US officials in discussion with their Pakistani counterparts have argued that Islamabad has already slapped similar restrictions on its diplomats, who are barred from travelling to Karachi and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

However, Pakistan, in its defence, maintains that they are not restrictions and are rather “security measures.”

According to the report, which cites the Washington-based diplomatic sources, these restrictions laid out by the US are reciprocal in nature and are linked to a larger visa dispute.

The US State Department last month complained to Pakistan that while Americans issue two-year visas to Pakistani diplomats, US diplomats only get one-year visas.

Furthermore, “The State Department maintained that Pakistanis were usually issued five-year US visas, but US officials and businessmen only got single-entry visas of three-month duration.”

The visa tension has escalated so much so that the US has introduced short duration visas to the Pakistani officials. (ANI)