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'Deliberate, willful' harassment of U.S. diplomats in Pak reaching tipping point: Report

June 22, 2012 - Washington

Harassment and obstruction of U.S. diplomats by the Pakistani government has increased dramatically, and has reached the point where it is "significantly impairing" the work of the American embassy and consulates in Pakistan, a U.S. State Department report said.

The department's report said official harassment "has reached new levels of intensity" since the May 2011 U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, and it increased more after last year's November NATO air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, reports Fox News.

"Official Pakistani obstructionism and harassment, an endemic problem in Pakistan, has increased to the point where it is significantly impairing mission operations and program implementation," said the report.

The 76-page report described the harassment as "deliberate, willful and systematic" and said ending it should be a top priority in high-level discussions with Pakistani authorities.

The harassment includes delays in getting visas; blocked shipments for aid programs and construction projects; denials of in-country travel requests; and surveillance of and interference with mission employees and contractors, the report stated.

It noted that U.S. diplomats and other government workers "have long been subjected to unusual, government-initiated obstructionism and harassment" but that it had gotten far worse.

"While other diplomatic missions have experienced similar treatment, the United States is clearly the principal target," the report said.


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