The duration of visas given to journalists has reduced to a much shorter period of 3 months. In addition to that, the charge for visa applications has been increased.
In an official notification issued by the American embassy here on Tuesday, the US said that an additional fee will also be charged for H (Temporary Work Visa), I (Journalist and Media Visa), L (Intercompany Transfer Visa), and R (Religious Worker Visa) visas, the Express Tribune reported.
An additional fee of USD 32 for I Visas and USD 38 for all other visa categories must be paid at the Embassy, Islamabad or Consulate General Karachi prior to visa issuance with effect from January 21.
“The US has reduced visa validity for Pakistani citizens from five years to 1 year whereas journalists and media persons will not be allowed to stay in the country for over three months without renewing the travel permit,” the paper said quoting the notification.
The US government has also increased visa application fees for the Pakistani citizens to USD 192 form USD 160.
In May last year, Pakistan foreign ministry had announced travel restrictions on US diplomats in a tit-for-tat move, after the US had imposed similar restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in that month, amid the rocky ties between Islamabad and Washington.
A US embassy statement said that the reduction was carried out to correct discrepancies between the American and Pakistani visa regimes. “Because Pakistan was unable to liberalise its visa regime for certain visa categories, the United States was required by US law on January 21 to reduce the visa validity and increase the visa fees to match Pakistan’s practices,” it said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the Pulwama Terror attack
In the attack 44 CRPF soldiers were killed. Adil Ahmed Dar, a local muslim militant recruited by the JeM, rammed a car full of 350kg of explosives, into a military convoy, leading to the death of 44 CRPF jawans. Dar, a school dropout who lived 10 km from the site where he blew himself up. Also Read: Two Videos of The Brutal Assault on Kashmiri Vendors Will Shock You
After 12 days of the atack, Indian Air Force (IAF) dropped 1,000 kg of bombs in regions of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). According to reports, the IAF used 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets in the operation, which bombed regions like Balakot, Muzaffarabad, Chakothi at around 3:30 am. The attack successfully destroyed three alpha control rooms and several terrorist lauchpads across the LOC.
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