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US ‘restricts movements of Pakistani diplomats’ in Washington, other consulates


NEW DELHI: Starting May 1, the US will reportedly restrict the movements of Pakistani diplomats in the country to within 25 miles of their posts, said numerous 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.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper said that the country’s embassy in Washington received the notification in mid-March and since then the two sides have had several discussions on this issue, both in Islamabad and Washington.

Diplomatic relations have been tense between the US and Washington since last August when US President Donald Trump put Pakistan on notice for providing “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror”.

In addition, things took a turn for the worse last week when a US diplomat in Islamabad ran a red light, while allegedly led to the death of a motorcyclist. The diplomat, military attaché Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall, wasn’t arrested because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

While denying any restriction on Pakistani diplomats in the US, both the US State Department and the Pakistani embassy in Washington said the accident hasn’t affected diplomats’ movements in either country.

Meanwhile, the US today reiterated that its Islamabad military attaché enjoys diplomatic immunity under the Vienna convention, reported PTI news agency.

“In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the individual, like all diplomats, is immune from the criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction of Pakistan and cannot be arrested, detained, or banned from leaving the country,” the spokesperson said.

 “For the safety and security of those involved, we cannot disclose the diplomat’s current location. We are in close contact with the appropriate Pakistani officials,” the spokesperson said, adding that the US embassy is co-operating with the investigation.
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