New Delhi (Sputnik) — The US has substantially trimmed visa durations for Pakistani visitors, while also increasing visa fees for certain categories of applicants.
"The US has cut visa durations for some category of Pakistani visitors by four years from five to just one and will not let journalists stay for more than three months without a renewed permit," the Pakistan Today newspaper reported, quoting the US embassy in Islamabad.
— ANI (@ANI) March 6, 2019
The US said it was legally bound to cut down visa validity and hike fees because "Pakistan was unable to liberalise its visa regime for certain visa categories," the report said, quoting the US embassy in Islamabad.
The decision comes amid increased international pressure on Pakistan to clamp down on terror following the 14 February suicide car bombing, claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), in Pulwama, which left more than 40 Indian paramilitary personnel dead.
Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad escalated following the attack, with both launching air operations against one another on 26 and 27 February 2019. While New Delhi claims its airstrikes were aimed against JeM hideouts in Pakistan, Islamabad insists that there were no terror camps in the area bombed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force was simply retaliating in response to the violation of its airspace.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump claimed that his country is involved in mediating between India and Pakistan for the release of the Indian pilot that was in Pakistan's custody following the aerial clash in which an Indian MiG-21 was downed by Pakistani warplanes.