Policy to screen Pak citizens traveling to US can hurt bilateral ties: Gilani

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Islamabad, Jan 9(ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has criticized the Obama administration's decision to carry out extra security checks, including full-body pat downs, on people flying into the United States from 14 mostly Muslim countries, including Pakistan.

Gilani said that persistence with such policies, which lead to "consternation and anxiety among Pakistanis" could affect the bilateral ties between the two countries.

Under the new rules, all citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen must receive a pat down and an extra check of their carry-on bags before boarding a plane bound for the United States, while citizens of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria -nations considered "state sponsors of terrorism"- face the same requirement.

According to a press statement issued after the Prime Minister's meeting with a US congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, Gilani called on the US Government to revisit the policy, and asked for the immediate removal of Pakistan from the list of countries whose citizens are to be screened, The Daily Times reports. (ANI)

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