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Movement Of Pakistani Diplomats In US To Be Restricted From May 1, Confirms Pakistan

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| April 20 , 2018 , 12:38 IST

Pakistan has officially confirmed that the US will impose restrictions on the movement of Pakistani diplomats and consular staff in Washington from May 1, restricting them from moving out beyond a 40 km distance from their respective consulates without prior permission.

The foreign ministry spokesman of Pakistan Mohammad confirmed the restrictions on Thursday, soon after the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon in Washington said that the US would place curbs on Pakistani diplomatic movement out of reciprocity.

Islamabad had earlier announced similar restrictions on US diplomats in Pakistan, especially from visiting the tribal belt of the country or Karachi, reportedly due to 'safety concerns' for the US diplomats.

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“Regarding travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in Washington, yes, we have received official communication regarding certain measures that the US intends to implement from May 1, 2018,” Xinhua quoted the Pakistani spokesman as saying.

“The issue is primarily of reciprocity. Both sides are in touch and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved. We have nothing more to add to this at the moment,” Faisal said.

A US embassy spokesman in Islamabad confirmed that Pakistan had also put in place restrictions against the movement of US diplomats. 

“Yes, there are longstanding restrictions on movement of diplomats, including Americans, in Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

Although reports suggested that the decision to limit the movement of US officials took place after a US embassy vehicle in Islamabad killed a Pakistani motorist on April 7 in a road accident, Pakistani officials have rejected the connection.

The officials claimed that the limitations on travel are not restrictions but security measures in order to protect US diplomats, adding that the US State Department itself does not allow its diplomats in Pakistan to visit Fata, Karachi and certain other places in Pakistan due to security concerns.