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Pak restricts work of foreigners

world Updated: Jul 26, 2011 00:11 IST
The Washington Post

Pakistani authorities are increasingly monitoring and restricting the movements of foreigners working in this country, according to U.S. and international aid officials, some of whom said they believe the changes represent a backlash against U.S. actions inside Pakistan that have enraged the government and the public.

The added restraints include four police refusals to allow U.S. embassy employees to enter the Peshawar over the past 10 days. Embassy officials said the employees were making routine trips to attend meetings or to fill in for workers at the U.S. consulate there.

Those incidents came after months of what international aid organisations said are growing requirements for federal permits to travel in areas that had been easily accessible, as well as deportations of workers whose visas have expired while their extension applications languished in bureaucracy.

The Peshawar episodes threaten to become another flash point in a frayed bilateral relationship that U.S. officials had hoped was improving, after fatal shootings by a CIA contractor and the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

International aid groups say the fallout from those incidents, which sparked debate about the presence of Americans in Pakistan, has prompted scrutiny of all foreigners that could imperil humanitarian work in zones recovering from conflict and floods.

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