Tit-for-tat

In a prompt, appropriate and effective tit for tat, Islamabad has imposed travel restrictions on US diplomats in tit for tat for Washington’s restricting Pakistani diplomats and their families to 25 miles radius of area in the US capital. According to the reports, Pakistan has done well by withdrawing as many as seven facilities which the US diplomats were enjoying so far including hiring or renting of properties without prior NOC, over shooting visa periods, using tainted windows, non-diplomatic number plates on official vehicles. Similarly, all mobile phones used by US diplomatic staff will be biometrically verified and require an NOC for installation of a radio communication facility at their residences or safe houses. Quite obviously, as clarified by the Foreign Office, these measures are in response to the US decision limiting Pakistani diplomats’ movement in America. This is no hostility but only tit for tat to what Washington has done to our diplomats and their families there.
This is yet another low in the already tense relations between the so-called old allies US and Pakistan ever since trouble shooter President Donald Trump has stepped into the White House, Washington has been sending senior officials to Islamabad to normalize ties but in reality taking steps to the contrary and apparently is annoyed “hitherto servant like” ally’s further strengthening of all-weather relations with China following launching of great game changer CPEC couple of years back and recent leanings towards Russia as well minimizing reliance on US military, financial and other assistance.
An independent foreign policy is what Islamabad needs most in the prevailing circumstances maintaining balanced friendly and mutually beneficial relations with Beijing and Moscow and minimum cordial relations with Washington while keeping on its determined efforts for normalization of ties with New Delhi and Kabul and peaceful solution of lingering Kashmir dispute and restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

M Z RIFAT
Lahore

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