NA treasury wants expulsion of US lady visa officer
18 June, 2005
ISLAMABAD, June 18 (Online): Treasury members on Friday got tough on the US consulate in Islamabad for not issuing visas to Justice (Retd) Muhammad Javed Iqbal, son of Poet of the East Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and his spouse, and asked the government to summon US ambassador to Foreign Office to explain reasons for not issuing visas.
The members also insisted the US lady officer who refused visas should be declared persona non grata before expelling her out of the country immediately.
On a calling attention notice, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, the foreign affairs state minister, informed the House that the US embassy had not refused visas to Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal and his spouse and rather, Mr. Javed had some hot exchanges with lady visa officer of the embassy.
He said the US embassy had not denied visas to Mr. Javed and his spouse and their name had been sent to the Homeland Security for clearance.
He said the US Clearance Law was not Pakistan specific and were applicable to people of every nation.
The state minister said whether or not to issue visas was a prerogative of an embassy and one could not object to it.
He said the US embassy officials did not discriminate against Pakistanis while issuing visas.
Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League said former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali was also disgraced by the US embassy in a similar style.
He said Mr. Jamali applied for US visa and embassy sought his thumbprints but former prime minister refused to comply with it and preferred canceling his programme to visiting the US in humiliation.
He insisted Americans living in Pakistan and coming to the country be treated in the same manner the US treated Pakistanis.
He said Pakistanis could not mark US visa applications with footprints and thumbprints.
Chaudhry Amir Hussain, National Assembly speaker, observed US visa officers were in the habit of not issuing visa to Pakistanis on personal likes and dislikes.
"This should not be a standard for visa issuance", he said.