Pakistan to impose reciprocal restrictions on USA diplomats

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As reported by the Pakistan's News International on Thursday, the Trump's administration decided that the officials of the Pakistan Embassy and four consulates are required to get permission from the State Department five days before going beyond the set limits.

The removal of various exemptions, and the imposition on movements was taken in a tit-for-tat move after the Trump administration had earlier chose to impose travel restrictions on the Pakistani diplomats in the US. "However, negotiations are ongoing between the two sides on the matter", Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said when asked to confirm reports whether the restrictions will be enforced or not.

They are already prohibited from visiting high-security areas, such as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), to protect them against possible terrorist attacks.

The tensions had escalated to an extent that the United States had introduced short duration visas to the Pakistani officials.

".This ministry has been informed that the new travel permission regime for Pakistani diplomats/officials in the United States would be implemented from May 11, 2018", Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in its notification, according to The Hindu.

Both developments come amid increasing tensions between the USA and Pakistan, which were once close allies in war against terrorism.

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A Foreign Ministry letter sent to the USA embassy in Islamabad noted that "reciprocal travel permission" was being put into place in Pakistan, without elaborating; however, US embassy staff have complained lately that they undergo additional searches and questioning by intelligence officials when leaving the embassy compound.

In addition, restrictions will be also applied on the family members of diplomats.

Addressing a meeting of the Pakistani American Congress on Capitol Hill, a Congressman, Donald Norcros, called for dialogue to ease tension, adding, "And if (by imposing those restrictions) we are inhibiting conversation, I do not think that's a smart thing to do". "We share the same objectives".

Besides talking about Afghan issue, the ambassador highlighted the Kashmir issue and said: "I believe the United States has emboldened India to take a heavy-handed approach in Kashmir", he said.

Washington later suspended its security assistance to Pakistan.

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