ISLAMABAD: The failure of Pakistan’s Senate deputy chairman, a prominent politician, to get a U.S. visa on time for a trip to the United States prompted Pakistan to boycott a UN-sponsored meeting on Monday, a parliamentary official said.
It was not clear whether the failure of Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri to get a visa on time for his trip was related to U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of applicants amid a push to suspend visas from seven other countries.
Haideri, a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, had been scheduled to lead a delegation to a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on Monday and Tuesday at U.N. headquarters in New York.
However, when he did not get a U.S. visa on time to travel by the weekend, he cancelled his trip and the rest of delegation decided to boycott, Chaudhry Arshad, a director at the office of the Senate chairman, told Reuters.
“Unless the U.S. provides an explanation for this delay, no Senate delegation will visit the U.S. and no member of Congress or U.S. diplomat will be welcomed in the Senate,” Arshad said, referring to Pakistan’s upper house of parliament.
Haideri could not be reached for comment but an official at his party’s office said it was awaiting an explanation from U.S. authorities. He declined to be identified.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Islamabad declined to comment, citing privacy rules.