US to impose restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in Washington

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Islamabad, April 20 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday confirmed that the US will impose restrictions on the movement of the country’s diplomats and consular staff in Washington from May 1.

Comments from Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal came a day after the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said in Washington on Tuesday that the US will place curbs on Pakistani diplomatic because Islamabad had already imposed similar restrictions on US diplomats in Pakistan.

“Regarding travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in Washington, yes, we have received official communication regarding certain measures that the US intends to implement from May 1, 2018,” Xinhua quoted the Pakistani spokesman as saying.

“The issue is primarily of reciprocity. Both sides are in touch and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved. We have nothing more to add to this at the moment,” Faisal said at his weekly briefing in Islamabad.

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A US embassy spokesman in Islamabad evaded comments on his country’s restrictions on Pakistani diplomats but confirmed Pakistan’s restrictions.

“Yes, there are longstanding restrictions on movement of diplomats, including Americans, in Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistan and the US reportedly took tit-for-tat actions after a US embassy vehicle driven by Defense and Air Attaché of the US embassy in Islamabad, which killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in capital Islamabad on April 7.

A police report informed the investigators that the US diplomat had violated signals on the 7th Avenue-Margalla Road junction.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the government awaits the outcome of preliminary investigations from Islamabad Police, based on which further actions would be initiated against the US diplomat.

“He (diplomat) will be treated under Pakistan’s Diplomatic and Consular Privileges Act 1972, which gives effect to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963,” Faisal said when he was asked about a petition in the Islamabad High Court, seeking ban on the diplomat from leaving Pakistan.

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–IANS

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