The United States government has reduced the visa validity for Pakistani citizens from five years to 1 year, reported The Express Tribune a Pakistani newspaper. 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. H (Temporary Work Visa), I (Journalist and Media Visa), L (Intercompany Transfer Visa), and R (Religious Worker Visa) visas will be charged an additional fee of 32-38 dollars, said a statement released by US embassy in Islamabad.
“Pakistan was unable to liberalize its visa regime for certain visa categories, [hence] 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 for similar visa categories,” said the State Department of America. This is big blow for Pakistan because the country gets a very good amount of remittance from Pakistani workers in the United States. The repeated terrorist attacks from terrorist groups located in Pakistan and in many countries including India, Afghanistan, Iran and United States have forced countries to reconsider how many Pakistani’s they want in their countries.
Since the election of Donald Trump, relations between Pakistan and United States has soured. Earlier, the US cautioned the IMF against a possible bailout of Pakistan. “Make no mistake, we will be watching what the IMF does,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC in an interview. Pakistan is drawing up a plan to seek a $12 billion bailout package from the IMF.
In September, the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups active on its soil. The relations between the two countries have soured after Donald Trump assumed power in the US. The US administration has suspended nearly USD 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan this year. Pakistan has misused the American help by supporting and allowing terrorism to prosper on its soil. “We were giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore; by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, and they don’t do a damn thing for us,” said Donald Trump on assistance cut. In August 2017, Trump had said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.”
A bill to terminate Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally has been introduced in the US Congress. The bill was presented by Andy Biggs, an influential Congressmen from the state of Arizona. A major non-NATO ally gets many military and financial advantages only available to NATO countries. Countries like Israel, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Pakistan are given major non-NATO ally status by the American government. Pakistan was named as major non-NATO ally in 2004 by former president George W Bush in 2004. US gave Pakistan the status for helping them in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.
The realignment of United States has left Pakistan with only one powerful friend in the global community- its all-weather ally, China. The economy of Pakistan is in doldrums, poor foreign relations will further push the country in troubled waters.