Diplomatic staff being harassed, complains US

Published: March 19, 2012

Dialogue to be held next month to address the issue.

LAHORE: 

US authorities have lodged a fresh complaint against the harassment of its diplomatic, expressing concern at the ‘inaction’ over an earlier complaint lodged some two years ago.

In a letter written to the Foreign Office earlier this month, the US administration formally updated Pakistani authorities on the alleged harassment of staff from its embassy and consulates in the country. The matter is likely to be taken up when the two sides meet for talks next month.

After receiving the complaint, Pakistan’s foreign ministry sent a circular to all the provincial governments, federal interior ministry and law-enforcement agencies asking them to take immediate remedial steps.

In January 2010, the US Embassy in Pakistan had lodged a similar public complaint, saying that its diplomatic staff were being harassed and detained while traveling around the country – a rare protest amid rising concerns of America’s expanding presence.

American officials say they need to increase their staff at the embassy to help disburse $7.5 billion aid to Pakistan. However, many Pakistanis harbouring anti-US sentiments allege America is bringing in spies. American diplomats complain of delays in approval of visas and their extensions, and also of being detained at checkpoints.

According to a press release issued on Jan 7, 2010, the US is concerned about false allegations against its personnel, who are working to forge a partnership between the two countries. It also urged Islamabad to make proper arrangements for their security.

On January 6, 2010, a US consulate general vehicle, carrying two Pakistani employees and their police escort, was stopped en route to Gwadar. The staffers were on the way to make preparations for the visit of US development assistance staff to one of Pakistan’s most impoverished regions.

The US Embassy emphasised that all its vehicles are appropriately registered with local authorities and carry all the documents attesting to their legal status. It added that the employees had also met with the police commissioner in Turbat as part of the protocol.

The US ambassador to Pakistan said that the foreign ministry is keen on providing proper arrangements to address the security concerns of diplomats. He assured that all US diplomats will comply with the Pakistani government’s procedures, but said that it had not implemented the measures agreed upon yet.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2012.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (15)

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:45AM

    Ever seen diplomatic staff shooting down to Pakistanis broad daylight in cold blood on a street in Lahore??? Ever heard of a Consulate vehicle traveling against the traffic on a one-way road in Lahore mowing down a man of a motorcycle and then running away??? I guess they too were forging close relations with Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • Point Blank
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:52AM

    If mercenaries are working in the guise of diplomatic workers under the umbrella of embassy, they have to suffer the problem. Perhaps the issue of Raymod Davis is not that old to forget, a CIA personnel with diplomatic passport and thus immunity.

    Recommend

  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:54AM

    This is what we are. Contact true rulers. We don’t have any FO.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 19, 2012 - 10:56AM

    You can never trust US intelligence agencies like any other intelligence agency and this is coming from a liberal “scum”.

    Recommend

  • Truth Teller
    Mar 19, 2012 - 11:35AM

    You should by now know that we are crazy!

    Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 19, 2012 - 11:42AM

    I think its the other way round .In Pakistan all the US diplomatic staff is given extra protocol and security .That can be seen when ever any US diplomate travels there is Police team accompanying him .Further they have been provided bullet proof vehicles .US should correct their record .

    Recommend

  • Ozymandias
    Mar 19, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Maybe their diplomats should stop shooting people then?

    Recommend

  • MyHeartSpeaks
    Mar 19, 2012 - 11:57AM

    ET: ‘US’ authorities have lodged a fresh ‘complaint’…. That’s ridiculous. It’s first time ever, (atleast to me), that US is found complaining to someone who is her subordinate. Masters never complain to their servants. Did US forget the ‘well-treatment’ of Raymond Davis??

    Recommend

  • Mo Sheikh
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:06PM

    Ever heard of Pakistanis being harassed at US airports? ummmm… NO.. hahaha :):):):)

    Recommend

  • Abdul Majeed
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:18PM

    There has been consensus in the development world that USAID is not interested in Pakistan’s development and in fact hurting efforts of other development partners as well. Sending of spies instead of development experts in the post earthquake time, and the fake EPI campaign by CIA sponsored Dr Shakeel Afridi in Abbottabad are few examples. The trust deficit caused by Americans themselves will be more evident in dealing with the Americans, so the americans must expect such harrassment more in the future and must think of reducing the staff instead of expanding. Pakistani lawmakers on ther hand may consider cancelling USAID agreement so that to raise self confidence of Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • Word Life
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:34PM

    Is it even possible ??? What a load of – - – -

    Recommend

  • Mar 19, 2012 - 1:28PM

    yeah keep an eye on them

    Recommend

  • KiJ
    Mar 19, 2012 - 6:07PM

    The US Cons in Quetta and Peshawar should be shut down… What’s there purpose anyway?

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Mar 19, 2012 - 7:48PM

    The USA should stop granting visa’s until the harassment stops — simple solution.

    Recommend

  • Coolbreeze
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:28PM

    US businessmen should be welcomed; what’s logic behind such huge embassy staff once we hardly see any US businessman investing around in Pakistan… After all We are major non NATO ally.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan