Pakistan restricts US diplomats' internal travel

By AFP
Published: July 31, 2011

Letter sent to US embassy in Islamabad increases limitations on when and how diplomats can move outside the capital.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has imposed new travel restrictions on US diplomats living in the country, a source told AFP Sunday, in the latest sign of ties worsening since the killing of Osama bin Laden.

A letter sent to the US embassy in Islamabad increased limitations on when and how diplomats can move outside the capital, the diplomatic source said, without giving further details.

Pakistan is seen as a key ally for the United States in its fight against Islamist militancy, but relations have soured since US troops killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May without warning Islamabad of the raid.

Both governments moved to prevent any public outbreak of disagreement after the restrictions were reported in Pakistani newspapers on Sunday.

“We are working with the Pakistani government to resolve the issue,” US embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said that “no US-specific restrictions have been applied” on diplomatic travel, but added it was “having a constructive engagement with the US Embassy in Islamabad in this regard”.

“There are general guidelines regarding travel of Pakistan-based diplomats, designed only to ensure their safety and security, which have existed for a long time,” it added in a statement.

“Pakistan has been harassing US personnel working in the country for months,” a US official told the ABC news channel, which reported on Saturday that the CIA’s Islamabad station chief had left Pakistan for medical reasons.

President Barack Obama’s administration recently suspended about a third of its $2.7 billion annual defence aid to Pakistan, but assured Islamabad it was committed to a $7.5 billion civilian assistance package approved in 2009.

A British high commission spokesman said the Pakistan government guidelines now being implemented on travel for its diplomatic staff had existed for some time.

Reader Comments (20)

  • Jul 31, 2011 - 7:45PM

    Petty and silly move by Pakistani govt. These diplomats perform normal duties and these restrictions will not stop any terrorism or espionage in Pakistan.

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  • Jul 31, 2011 - 8:20PM

    zaberdast! it was long overdue.

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  • Cautious
    Jul 31, 2011 - 8:28PM

    If Pakistan interferes with USA diplomats — then the USA should just stop issuing Visa’s to Pakistani’s — this kind of “gotcha” nonsense can be played both ways.

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  • XYZ
    Jul 31, 2011 - 8:33PM

    Wait till US starts arresting and deporting Pakistanis living in USA ..

    And choke the remittance channels ..

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  • positive pakistani
    Jul 31, 2011 - 8:38PM

    @Bangash:
    I do not know….i seriously “DO NO KNOW”…..what these people want???? I feel confused……about what the HELL you want your government to do??…. i am SICK of this cynicism!….

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  • Aadersh
    Jul 31, 2011 - 8:43PM

    A Good step Indeed!!

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  • Lobster
    Jul 31, 2011 - 9:50PM

    @Bangash:

    These diplomats perform normal duties

    yeaaah right! normal duties for US diplomats but not for other country diplomats!

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  • RealityCheck
    Jul 31, 2011 - 10:08PM

    Normal Duties??? Can you please elaborate on those normal duties or may be carrying fully automatic weapons with armor piercing rounds, along with fake number plates and sophisticated navigation and communication equipment. I am sure Pakistan is the only place where diplomats of such sort exist.

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  • realize
    Jul 31, 2011 - 11:07PM

    and the goal of this stupid move is? acting like north korea or burma is not going to work!

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  • Babloo
    Jul 31, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Pakistan should impose travel ban on all Americans.
    US should impose travel, trade ban on all Pakistanis.
    That would save US billions and meaningless diplomatic engagement with Pakistan.
    As an American I would support that.

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  • Roflcopter
    Aug 1, 2011 - 12:15AM

    yawn more gimmicks from govt

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  • Shukat Ali
    Aug 1, 2011 - 1:47AM

    @Bangash:
    Exactly! Since they are ” normal diplomats”, they must abide by the rules, the other diplomats are made to follow. The” Viceroy” kind of status, that they enjoyed during dictator ship of Musharaf, I hope is over.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 1, 2011 - 2:09AM

    Americans in Pakistan are here on spying business whether he or she working in a diplomatic mission, have come on a business trip, or just a visitor.

    Not many people would know that US Embassies and Consulates in Pakistan are protecting the interest of Israel with which Pakistan has no diplomatic relations.

    For patriot Pakistanis, an American in Pakistan means an Israeli in Pakistan.

    The agenda of America and Israel is common. It is to destroy the nuclear capability of Pakistan and to create civil unrest.

    The more Government of Pakistan will listen to IMF, World Bank and to US Administration, the more it is going to hurt Pakistan itself and there a point will come, the point of ‘no return’.

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  • Adeel759
    Aug 1, 2011 - 2:25AM

    All international conventions safegaurd the free movement of diplomats. No one knows why GHQ is doing this.Recommend

  • Aug 1, 2011 - 7:33AM

    @Babloo: Good!!! Why bother even to read our newspapers??? Why even take the trouble to comment??? Dont even think of coming for a short visit to Pakistan.

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  • Aug 1, 2011 - 7:39AM

    This was long overdue. We may partly be a slovenly nation having corrupt politiians but like a human being a country can only sink low to a certain level of mendicity. But after all there is a limit and that limit hopefully has been reached. Now is the time for our politicians and rulers to show their mettle (if they have any). Salams.

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  • Aug 1, 2011 - 8:53AM

    The Pakistani government is so short sighted. Even if there were secret motives, which there aren’t, they’re not underground. They can be watched easily. If they were doing something dirty, it would take no effort at all by another department to acquire evidence to boost public opinion about them and their effectiveness. What Pakistan is doing is merely announcing to the world that their increasing habit of discrimination is still going strong. It’s almost like you want the world to quarantine you rather than something productive like dealing with your strategic assets. It’s not there yet, but if it keeps increasing… Well, taking history into consideration of what happens to countries who enter into full fledged bigot mode… Outlook not so good.

    @RealityCheck: yeah, that navigation equipment is most likely a GPS. It’s something most new vehicles produced in the US come with now. Score one for Pakistan’s fear of progress.Recommend

  • Shabloo
    Aug 1, 2011 - 8:58AM

    @Babloo:
    this is the desire of an Indian not and an American, and you sounds like a typical Indian not American though! and as a real American I oppose it.

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  • Reality bites
    Aug 1, 2011 - 9:02AM

    @Babloo: Curious to know is there any safe destination left in pakistan for freely travel ?

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 3:52PM

    Great .That is one huge memorial !
    It IS different from all,Thanks a lot for the post. Im a massive fan of the blog,I’m reading every word here.

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