Pakistan and United States in back channel contacts

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Pakistan and United States in back channel contacts

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and the United States are in talks to resolve the visa and the deportees’ issue, officials said on Friday.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Washington was not ready to give ‘unilateral concessions’.

“They want Pakistan to provide the same facilities to the Americans that they want for the Pakistanis from the US,” said one official.

Another official said that Pakistan believed the relaxation of visas and their validity and other matters should be bilateral. “We cannot force the US to give us relaxations while we stick to strict rules. We are reconsidering our options,” he added.

This week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the US had imposed no visa ban on Pakistanis. He however, said the US had banned visas for three high-level Pakistani officials including the joint secretary of the foreign ministry.

“The ban was imposed for not taking back Pakistani immigrants who are illegally residing in US,” he added.

On the US deporting Pakistanis, the foreign minister said that 70 illegal immigrants will be returning to Pakistan. “The United States has arranged a special chartered plane to send these immigrants back to Islamabad from Texas. The individuals were detained and prosecuted for immigration violations, criminal conduct and other serious charges,” he elaborated.