The US government has announced that it is repealing the decision to permit discriminatory screenings of all residents from Pakistan. Pakistanis will no longer be singled out for further screening and treated as suspects. Removing this law has been a priority of the government, which has had the Foreign Ministry in dialogue with the Americans about this issue since it first appeared.
The issue was raised strongly at the highest levels during the Pak-US strategic talks recently, and removing these discriminatory restrictions has been a priority of President Zardari, PM Gilani and FM Qureshi.
The FM recalled that President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and he himself had raised the issue several times before the US Administration. The Foreign Minister mentioned that the issue also raised strongly during recently held Pak-US Strategic Dialogue and the United States was urged that such restrictions would only create doubts between two countries.
Responding to a question, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pak-US Strategic relations would be strengthened in future, adding the issue of Civil Nuclear Technology was also discussed in the talks and Pakistan has informed the US about its interests. Foreign Minster Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the issue of screening of Pakistanis at American Airports which he raised in the strategic dialogues with US has been addressed successfully. “Today US congress woman Sheila Jackson and American Ambassador Ann Paterson told me that America has decided to take back its decision of screening”, he added.
Removing this law has also been a priority of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA, Husain Haqqani, who has been protesting the discriminatory rules and pressing the American government to remove Pakistan from the list of suspect countries.
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani has urged the Obama Administration to remove Islamabad’s name from the list of country’s whose citizens have to go through full body scanning at American airports.
During a meeting with US Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary of Policy David Heyman, Haqqani said being an important ally of the US, Pakistani citizens must be shown due respect.
The positive results of the government’s work on this issue are a good sign not only for strengthened Pakistan-US relations, but show a growing respect for Pakistan on the part of the Americans. That respect, which was damaged during the Musharraf years, has been growing dramatically over the past year.