The US will reportedly restrict the movements of Pakistani diplomats in the country to within 25 miles of their posts from May 1, according to reports in the Pakistani press.
These reports further said that Pakistani diplomats would have to take permission – at least five days in advance – to travel beyond 25 miles.
A notice to this effect was apparently sent to the Pakistan embassy in Washington, although both the embassy and the US State Department have denied it.
According to a report published in Dawn, the United States and Pakistan are engaged in a diplomatic dispute which — despite denials from both sides — could lead to strict restrictions on the movement of their diplomats.
But when Dawn contacted the US State Department, it received an email from a spokesperson saying: “I can confirm that there are no restrictions on travel for Pakistani diplomats in the United States.”
Asked if those restrictions could be imposed in the near future, the US official said: “Beyond that, we have nothing to announce at this time.”
Officials from both sides, however, clarified that the notice had nothing to do with Saturday’s fatal accident when a US diplomat jumped a red light and killed a Pakistani motorcyclist.
According to DawnNewsTV, Col Joseph Emanuel was driving a white SUV when he hit a motorbike which led to the death of one civilian while the other suffered serious injuries.
Police didn’t attempt to arrest the military attaché since he holds diplomatic immunity; however, they have shifted the US embassy’s vehicle to Kohsar police station.
The US complained that Pakistan was very restrictive in issuing visas to the US officials and traders. The State Department said that Pakistanis were usually issued five-year US visas, but American officials and businessmen only got single-entry visas of three-month duration.
Recently, the United States introduced short duration visas to the Pakistani officials. Pakistanis working for international organizations, such as the World Bank, are now also facing visa delays.