The United States has refused a visa to Pakistan senate deputy chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who was to travel to New York to represent the country at the UN-sponsored International Parliamentary Union (IPU) being held there next week.
Following this development, Pakistan senate chairman Raza Rabbani announced a boycott of the event.
According to a report in Dawn, the chairman has also directed that no Senate delegation will visit the US unless Washington or the US embassy in Pakistan give an explanation for the delay in issuance of visa to Haideri.
According to an official statement released by the senate secretariat, Rabbani has also directed that “no delegation, member of Congress or diplomat of the US will be welcomed by the senate of Pakistan, senate standing committees and senators in their official capacity [until] this issue is resolved”.
Haideri was not directly in contact with the US embassy in Islamabad and all correspondence in this regard was carried out by the secretariat on his behalf. The secretariat staff was told on Saturday that the embassy would inform them about the status of the visa on February 14, the last day of the IPU hearing.
This indicated that the US had decided not to allow the deputy chairman to attend the conference. This impression was strengthened by the fact that the embassy had already granted a visa to Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) senator Lt-Gen Salahuddin Tirmizi, the other member of the delegation.
Haideri belongs to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), which openly opposes US policies, particularly the country’s role in the ongoing war against terrorism.