–Recently appointed US secretary of state accuses Pakistan of having terror havens on its soil
–Reiterates resolve to rescue Dr Shakil Afridi from imprisonment
WASHINGTON: Recently appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday alleged that American diplomatic staff in Pakistan was “not being treated well by the Pakistani government”.
“My officers, our state department officers are being treated badly as well, folks working in the embassies and councils [and] in other places are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either,” Pompeo remarked while recording his testimony before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The top US official declared that this “real problem” needs to be addressed.
With regards to the new South Asia strategy of the US, Pompeo accused Pakistan of having terror havens on its soil.
“We have been clear with Pakistan that ensuring reconciliation, peace, and security in Afghanistan in large part depends on Pakistan’s willingness to crack down on terrorist safe havens and instigators of terrorist activity in its own country,” he added.
The former CIA chief also shared that the US has released far less funds in 2018 as compared to the previous year to Islamabad, which appears in line with Donald Trump’s policy revealed through a tweet in January, this year.
Regarding imprisoned Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who had helped US authorities track down al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, Pompeo remarked that he had worked diligently on the issue of Dr Afridi in his previous role unsuccessfully.
“Please know that it is in my heart and it is important and we can do that,” he asserted.
Pompeo’s assertions come on the heels of fraught relations between Islamabad and Washington, the core reason behind which is security-related affairs and the situation in Afghanistan.
The ties became more turbulent after a US colonel Joseph Emanuel ran a red light and killed a motorcyclist in Islamabad, last month, following which he was blacklisted, however, was allowed to fly off to the US, a week later.
Washington had also enforced travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats earlier this month, following the fatal accident in Islamabad; the move was reciprocated by Pakistan as well.
The restrictions imposed by Pakistan included introducing a similar travel permission regime for the US Embassy/Consulate staff in Pakistan, treating US diplomatic cargo at Pakistani airports and ports strictly in accordance with the provisions of Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (which does not provide for an exemption from scanning) and implementing strictly the rules (already shared with the Embassy on 27 April 2018) governing interaction between Pakistan government officials and foreign diplomats”.
Pakistan also withdrew facilities being extended to the US Embassy/Consulates, including use of tinted glass on official vehicles and rented transport, use of non-diplomatic number plates on official vehicles, use of diplomatic number plates on unspecified/rented vehicles, use of biometrically unverified/unregistered cell phone SIMs, hiring or shifting of rented properties without prior NOC, installing radio communication at residences and safe houses without prior NOC and overshooting visa validity periods and having multiple passports.