WASHINGTON: A senior official of the Trump administration has confirmed that Pakistani diplomats cannot move freely in the US without seeking permission from relevant authorities in the State Department.
In an interview with Voice of America’s Uzbek service, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said this restriction was placed in response to the same conditions Islamabad has imposed on US diplomats in Pakistan.
Shannon stressed that this is nothing new and such steps are routine matters.
Some media reports earlier this month suggested that Pakistani diplomats in US were told to seek permission before they travel beyond certain limits.
The Foreign Office and US Embassy in Islamabad denied such reports but the Trump administration recently communicated to the Pakistani government that its diplomats stationed here could face restrictions in their travel movement if similar limitations on American diplomats in Pakistan are not eased up.
A senior official told a private TV channel, requesting anonymity, that the warning came out a few weeks ago and the two sides have been discussing the proposal and its possible outcome since then. The official also insisted that the warning had nothing to do with the fatal road accident last week when a Pakistani citizen was killed by a US diplomat.
The full course of communication has not been shared in detail, but the official revealed that the diplomatic staff would need permission at least five days ahead from US authorities to travel outside of the imposed 25-mile radius. The new restrictions could take effect from May 1. —INP