US diplomats accuse Pak military, intelligence of blatant 'harassment campaign'

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Islamabad, Dec.17 (ANI): US officials have blamed the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies for what they termed as a campaign to 'harass' American diplomats by refusing to extend or approve their visas.

They said that the Pakistani authorities have refused to extend or approve visas of at least 100 US officials in the recent past.

Moreover, frequent checking of American diplomatic vehicles in major cities across the country has also irked the foreign officials.

According to a diplomat, who is privy to the issue, several top officials, including military attachés, C.I.A. officers, development experts, junior level diplomats and others have fallen prey to this practice.

The obstinate attitude of the Pakistani agencies has also hampered the aid flow into the country.

"As a result, some American aid programs to Pakistan, which President Obama has called a critical ally, are grinding to a halt," The New York Times quoted a senior US diplomat, as saying.

"There's an incredible disconnect between what they want of us and the fact we can't get the visas," he added.

Reimbursements to Pakistan of nearly one billion dollars a year for counter terrorism have been suspended because the last of the American Embassy's five accountants left the country this week after his visa expired, the newspaper added.

The issue has once again highlighted the widening rift between both the countries, however, Pakistani security officials believe that the Americans are themselves to blame for the problem.

"Unfortunately, the Americans are arrogant. They think of themselves as omnipotent. That's how they come across," said one of the security official, who has records of many such incidents.

He said Pakistani officials were being 'provoked' by the US officials resulting in stern action.

In an instance, the Pakistani security official said, Americans in an SUV, last week, fled after the police tried to search their car at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Islamabad.

His claims were rubbished by the embassy spokesman.

"Nonsense, diplomats don't run away," the spokesman said. (ANI)

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