Following reports of an unauthorised trip by US embassy officials to Gilgit-Baltistan, an intelligence agency’s report has expressed serious concern regarding the “secret movement” of foreign missions/diplomats in the country, including covert meetings with officials and private persons – without informing either the foreign office or the interior ministry.
The report, cited in an interior ministry circular has advised foreign missions to avoid this practice to prevent any “untoward incident.”
The report states that a number of foreigners have been found visiting prohibited areas without obtaining a No-Objection Certificate (NOC). It also directs law enforcement agencies to not provide direct security to any foreign missions/diplomats until the foreign office formally gives them details of their presence and programme schedule.
The American officials had directly written to the Gilgit-Baltistan police chief, asking him for security, and arranging for meetings with various lawmakers and professionals.
Following these reports, the interior ministry, other intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the prime minister have taken strict notice, sources said. In this regard, the interior ministry’s National Crisis Management Cell has issues guidelines to all provincial home departments, police chiefs, and heads of law enforcement agencies.
Fake number plates
Intelligence reports also said that a number of bulletproof diplomatic vehicles, equipped with weapons, are being used around the country with fake number plates.
The circular states that diplomatic vehicles were temporarily allowed to use alternative number plates after the 2008 Marriot hotel bombing in Islamabad. This practice has continued in Islamabad as well as different parts of the country, the report adds. The prime minister, according to the reports, has directed law enforcement agencies to immediately take into possession all such vehicles and return them to their countries of origin.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.