US-Pakistan ties

Pakistan withdraws special privileges provided to US diplomats, imposes travel restrictions

It is being seen as a tit-for-tat move as restraints on Pakistani officials in the US come into effect on Friday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Friday withdrew seven special privileges provided to United States diplomats, reported Dawn. It is being seen as a tit-for-tat move as travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the US come into effect on Friday.

“...This ministry has been informed that the new travel permission regime for Pakistani diplomats/officials in the US would be implemented from May 11, 2018,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in its notification, according to The Hindu. “In case travel permission regime for Pakistani diplomats/officials is implemented by the State Department, Pakistan would be obliged to take reciprocal actions with effect from May 11, 2018.”

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”. The embassy will also be unable to use tinted windows on official vehicles as well as rented vehicles, or use SIMs that are without registration or biometric verification.

US diplomats in Pakistan can no longer use non-diplomatic number plates on official vehicles or diplomatic number plates on unspecified or rented vehicles, the notification said. They cannot overshoot their visa periods. The US embassy will also now have to seek no-objection certificates from the ministry to install radio communication at residences and while renting property, or moving from one property to another.

The US had announced travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in April. They are now forced to stay within 25 miles (40 kilometres) of the city they are posted at. The restrictions were earlier scheduled to come to effect on May 1.

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