Friday, June 22, 2012
U.S. diplomats in Pakistan facing harassment: State Department
U.S. diplomats working in Pakistan face increasing harassment amid a sharp deterioration in ties in the wake of last year's killing of Osama bin Laden, a State Department report said Thursday.
Such harassment and obstruction is described by U.S. embassy staff as "deliberate, willful and systematic," according to the 76-page report by the department's watchdog, the office of inspector general.
"Official Pakistani obstructionism and harassment, an endemic problem in Pakistan, has increased to the point where it is significantly impairing mission operations and program implementations," the report said.
Harassment included such things as delaying visas for staff, blocking shipments of materials for aid programs and construction work and surveillance of staff and contractors.
The official report, made available Thursday, comes after a February fact-finding tour of the U.S. diplomatic missions in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore.
It urged U.S. officials to ensure that the issue of harassment is raised in bilateral talks with the Pakistani government. The report recommended that the number of video conferences between Washington and Islamabad be rationalized.