US sanctions 3 Pak govt officials over repatriation row

Srinagar: The United States has imposed visa sanction on three senior Pakistani interior ministry officials because of a row over repatriation of deportees.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday told the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs that visa curbs had been applied by the US on three officials of Pakistan’s interior ministry, Dawn reported.

The officials who are facing visa restrictions are an additional secretary and a joint secretary of the interior ministry as well as the director general passports.

The sanctions on the three officials have been put in place after a row between the two countries over the deportation of dozens of Pakistanis, currently in the US, because of visa overstay and other allegations. Qureshi said the US authorities intended to deport more than 70 Pakistanis, but the government had asked them to fulfil the legal requirements, Dawn report said.

The US put the restrictions on three officials that are said to be overseeing country’s policy on accepting back nationals deported from other countries.

The foreign minister, however, clarified that there were no visa restrictions by the US government on Pakistani citizens in general. Consular operations of the US embassy in Islamabad are continuing and are granting visas to the eligible applicants.

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