After reports that the U.S. government is deporting over 70 Pakistani citizens, some in Pakistan began to worry that Washington was beginning to impose visa restrictions on the country. However, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi denied those claims, saying there are no new U.S. visa restrictions for Pakistan.
U.S. deports 70+ Pakistanis
The Trump administration warned Islamabad about possible visa sanctions about two weeks ago. Since then, the U.S. has detained and prosecuted over 60 Pakistanis for criminal conduct, immigration violations and other charges, reports VEO News. Washington has chartered a jet to return the detained citizens to Islamabad tomorrow.
The U.S. Secretary of State must stop granting visas to a nation after Homeland Securities notifies the office that the nation has either denied or delayed entry to an American citizen, resident or national unreasonably. According to the Business Standard, the U.S. State Department announced visa sanctions against Pakistan weeks ago for allegedly refusing to accept its “citizen deportees and visa over-stayers.”
However, an embassy official told The News more recently that talks to resolve the issue of immigration are underway but added that claims of sanctions were a bit misleading. The official emphasized that visa issues are handled based on reciprocity.
No U.S. visa restrictions for Pakistan
Pakistan Today and Radio Pakistan report today that Qureshi denied claims about U.S. visa restrictions for Pakistan. He told Radio Pakistan that Washington hasn’t imposed any restrictions against Pakistan but is “just going to deport over 70 illegal Pakistanis.” He added that Islamabad has requested that Washington fulfill the legal requirements in the cases against the deported Pakistanis.
Qureshi also confirmed that the Pakistanis who are being deported will arrive back in the country via a charter flight on Wednesday. Additionally, he said Washington has banned visit visas “for three officials due to some reasons,” Geo TV reports. However, he emphasized that the U.S. visa restrictions are not for Pakistan as a whole, and both countries have clarified this fact on their sides.
The foreign minister also said his office will issue the same number of visas the U.S. does, which means if the U.S. issues visas for the next five years, then Pakistan will do the same.