Govt refuses establishment of US consulate in Balochistan


Security agencies and the Foreign Ministry have opposed opening of American consulate to be set up in Balochistan province over security concerns.
According to a private TV channel report, US ambassador in Islamabad Cameron Munter is making efforts for the opening of the consulate in Balochistan.
Munter visited Quetta, the provincial capital, on Thursday, and said that Balochistan is very important to the United States.
The US has long been anxious to open consulate in Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, but the move has been opposed by Pakistani security agencies and the Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry has sent its report to the Interior Ministry over reservations and concerns about the US consulate, the report said, adding that the security agencies are also not giving the required clearance despite fresh moves by the incumbent US ambassador.
The US had made a request to the Pakistani government to open consulate in Balochistan, arguing that it would oversee development projects in the province.
American media has reported on several occasions that the proposed consulate was likely to have a sizable CIA presence. Apart from espionage worries, the security agencies had also expressed security concerns about the presence of
an American diplomatic facility in Balochistan.
Last year, the Pakistani law enforcement agencies had arrested two Pakistani employees of the US consulate general in Karachi while travelling in the port city of Gwader in Balochistan.
The fresh move came just few days after Pakistan imposed travel restrictions over the movement of American diplomats and they are required special permissions to go to other cities.