US wants 'interference free' visa mechanism for its officials in Pak

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Islamabad, Feb.27 (ANI): The United States has told Pakistan to put in place a uniform visa mechanism so that its diplomats and embassy staff stationed in Islamabad do not face any difficulty in carrying out their work in the country.

In a statement issued by the US embassy's Office of Public Affairs here, US Ambassador Anne Patterson said Washington wants that American officials do not face any problems in their work.

"We look forward to creation of a visa mechanism that will enable US officials do their jobs without interference," Patterson said.

A senior US diplomat said that in addition to a restriction-free movement of its officials, Washington also wants a regular and uniform visa system for all staff based in Pakistan.

"Some of them are given single entry visas for one month, others get multiple visas for a year," The Dawn quoted the diplomat, as saying.

Delay in issuing visas to US officials has affected the relationship between the two countries.

Angered over Islamabad's stubborn attitude over the issue, the Obama Administration had linked the reimbursement of funds under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) with issuance of visas to US auditors and other officials.

Pakistan has so far received 700 million dollars of the 2.6 billion dollars claimed under the CSF over the last two years, and is claiming another 1.2 billion dollars under the aid.

Pakistan has long been demanding an early release of the funds, however, the Obama White House had made it clear that it would release the remaining amount only after being assured of positive use of the financial package.

The US also linked the delay in the disbursement of funds to Pakistan's denial to grant visas to American auditors.

Arm-twisting Pakistan over the delay in issuing visas to its auditors, the United States had told Islamabad that the remaining payment under the CSF would only be released after the American fficials get their visas. (ANI)

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