Thursday, December 24, 2009

Foreign Office overrides Mr. Haqqani. Visas refused to Blackwater

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has refused visas to as many as 137 US citizens because of incorrect information that the applicants provided to authorities through Pakistan Embassy in Washington, well placed sources told TheNation on Wednesday. According to the official sources, as many as 137 US citizens had applied for Pakistani visas during the last couple of months. After assessing their information, the authorities found the applications incomplete. In some cases bogus information was provided that led to the refusal of visas.

When contacted, spokesperson of Foreign Office did not confirm it. However, when this correspondent shared the details, he did not deny it also.

It is pertinent to note here that Pakistan Embassy in Washington had issued scores of visas to American nationals from different walks of life after Hussein Haqqani joined the embassy as ambassador about nine months ago.

The higher authorities of Ministry of Foreign Affairs began thorough checking of the visa applications of US nationals after it was found that some of the visa seekers had provided misinformation. During assessment of the documents, the authorities found the applications of 137 visa seekers incomplete and rejected their cases.
The authorities rejected the impression that the visas refusal is a reaction to the widespread anti-American sentiments in the country saying it was purely on merit.
“Had the visa seekers provided accurate information, there applications would not have been rejected,” one of the officials of the Ministry told this correspondent requesting not to be named.

The report of visa refusal surfaced at a time when a high-ranking official of Obama Administration, Chairman US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, is busy meeting higher government authorities in Islamabad.

Sources in US Embassy in Islamabad, quoting American diplomats, said that refusal of visas seems to be a reaction to the widespread anti-American sentiments in Pakistan.

This correspondent has repeatedly attempted to get official version of the US Embassy over the issue, however, no body attended the phone call.

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