Pakistan, US renew relations by removing travel restrictions on diplomats

08:55 PM | 12 Aug, 2019
Pakistan, US renew relations by removing travel restrictions on diplomats
WASHINGTON – Pakistan and the United States have removed a travel ban and other restrictions imposed last year on one another’s diplomats and diplomatic staff.

Islamabad has also reciprocated and restored the facilities that US diplomats had enjoyed in Pakistan until last year.

The Trump administration imposed these restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the United States on May 10, 2018 and on May 11, Islamabad imposed similar restrictions on US diplomats in Pakistan.

Under the US restrictions, Pakistani diplomats were banned from moving further than 25 miles from the cities in which they were posted. They were also required to seek permission from the State Department five days in advance if they planned to visit another city.

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The Pakistani restrictions also confined US diplomats to certain areas within the city they worked and

lived in. Pakistan also withdrew special treatments given to US diplomats at Pakistani airports.

American diplomats were barred from using tinted glass on their vehicles or having diplomatic registration plates on private vehicles. Before renting property, American diplomats were required to obtain a no-objection certificate from Pakistan’s interior ministry.

Diplomatic tensions between the United States and Pakistan heightened in April 2018 when a US diplomat Joseph Emmanuel Hall ran a red light in Islamabad, killing a motorcyclist and injuring a passenger.

A court in Islamabad ruled that the American diplomat didn’t have the right to absolute immunity and ordered the government to put his name on the exit control list within two weeks. Persons on the list are prohibited from leaving Pakistan.

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Relations between the two countries saw progress during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington late last month.

Since then, the Trump administration has released about $125 million for the renovation and repair of US-built F-16 fighter jets that Pakistan has purchased from Washington. President Trump has also expressed his desire to expand bilateral trade “by 20 times,” if possible.