US officials briefly stopped at toll plaza

More and more documentation checks being carried out.

Express July 25, 2011


US officials en route to Sukkur from Karachi in a convoy of vehicles were briefly stopped at the toll plaza near Jamshoro on Sunday for a documentation check.

The officials were employees of the US consulate in Karachi and were reportedly travelling to Sukkur to oversee the relief operations being conducted on behalf of USAID.

Security officials said that it was a routine check and they had suspicions over one foreigner travelling in one of the vehicles of the convoy. However, when the documents, including a No-Objection Certificate from the ministry of interior, were shown for travelling within Sindh, they were allowed to proceed. They denied that the foreigners were subjected to any kind of harassment.

A home ministry official said that any foreigner who travels within the province has to tell the authorities, including the inspector general of Sindh’s office and the home department. This is done for their own protection because of the risk of kidnapping for ransom. Also, there are certain restricted areas where no foreigner is allowed to enter.

The official said numerous such incidents have been occurring all over the country.

A US embassy spokesperson from Islamabad confirmed the incident. “The US consulate officials were allowed to proceed to Sukkur after all their documentation was found to be in proper order,” she said.

On July 20, the motorway police had stopped seven US embassy officials when they tried to enter Peshawar from Islamabad. They were told to head back when their travel documents were not found to be in order.

Also earlier this month, two Americans and a Norwegian citizen were barred from entering Peshawar for not having a No Objection Certificate. These foreigners were stopped at the Peshawar Interchange on the Islamabad-to-Peshawar Motorway and were sent back to Islamabad.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th,  2011.


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