WASHINGTON: Pakistan Embassy in Washington confirmed that a proposed travel ban on Pakistani diplomats in the United States had been delayed.
Last month, the Trump administration communicated to the Pakistani government that its diplomats stationed there could face restrictions in their travel movement if similar limitations on American diplomats in Pakistan were not eased.
The ban that was to be implemented from May 1 would now take effect 10 days later.
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Embassy told media: “This is a proposal from the US State Department which is currently under discussion between the two governments. The implementation of the proposal has been delayed till 11 May 2018 and during this period, the two governments are discussing to resolve the matter.”
The move, if followed, will push diplomatic relations between the two countries to a new low.
It would be the first time for Pakistani diplomats serving in America to face such travel regulations, whereas past US government have practiced such codes on Russian and Chinese officials.
The warning came out a few weeks ago. Earlier, an official insisted that the warning had nothing to do with last month’s fatal road accident in Islamabad, in which a Pakistani citizen was killed after being hit by a US diplomat’s vehicle.
On April 7, the vehicle of a defence attaché at the US embassy in Islamabad, Joseph Emanuel Hall, ran a red light and rammed into a motorcycle in the federal capital, killing one man on the spot and injuring another.
A day later, US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale was summoned to Pakistan’s Foreign Office in Islamabad, where Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua recorded strong protest with the US envoy, who expressed grief over the incident and assured full cooperation from the US embassy in investigating the incident.
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been strained in recent months over Afghanistan.
Earlier in a tweet on January 1, Trump claimed that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.
He also accused Pakistan of thinking US leaders to be fools. “They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Trump’s tweet drew a strong reaction from Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.
“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif told media.
“Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,” the minister added.