Pakistan slaps restrictions on U.S. diplomats in tit-for-tat row

The movement of Pakistani diplomatic staff's limited to 40 kilometres from their posts

The movement of Pakistani diplomatic staff's limited to 40 kilometres from their posts

In what appears to be a tit-for-tat move, the Foreign Ministry on Friday imposed reciprocal travel restrictions on American diplomats in Pakistan as similar curbs on the movement of Pakistani diplomats in the United States have come into effect. The diplomats will be required to ask for special permission at least five days before travelling beyond 40 kilometres.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the National Assembly Shireen Mazari demanded bringing the number of USA diplomats in Pakistan equal to that of Pakistani officials in the United States. The scanning is done at the airport to stop passengers from traveling with security- or intelligence-related gadgets.

"Restricting movements of Diplomats was a norm in Moscow and Islamabad during cold war and a regular practice between Pakistan and India even today but unheard of in the context of Pakistan and the USA", tweeted Jilani.

A former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, Jalil Abbas Jilani, said in a tweet the restrictions are "a sign of strayed" relations and called on both countries to fix them.

Members of the opposition parties Friday expressed concerns over deteriorating relations between Pakistan and the United States and called for expulsion of U.S. nationals working in Pakistan for different non-government organisations (NGOs) and aid agencies. The set of withdrawal is likely to render United States diplomats and security officials vulnerable to greater surveillance from the Pakistani authorities. "We are starting to work on having a much more productive relationship, Afghan-Pakistan terrorism has been a huge issue and it does not just affect our country but also your country", he said. He accused the Pakistanis of giving safe haven to terrorists the U.S.is fighting in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan has also decided that from May 11, restrictions will be imposed on all American diplomats and their movements.

A frustrated President Donald Trump issued a New Year's Day tweet, saying the US had given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid and gotten nothing but "lies and deceit" in return.

Congressman Norcross said that Pakistan and India both faced the same security challenges, which also concerned the United States.

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