New Delhi (Sputnik): The US has revoked its Diplomatic Tax Exemption programme for Pakistani diplomats in another retaliatory measure that is threatening to plunge already strained relations to a new low. Last year, the US barred Pakistani diplomats working in Washington from travelling outside a 25-mile radius around the city without approval. With the decision turning effective immediately, over 20 members in the Pakistan embassy surrendered the card to the US authorities.
Pakistan has yet to provide tax exemption facilities to the US diplomats working in Islamabad since they applied for the same last year. The US decision viewed against this backdrop looks to convey that "services and privileges are based on the principle of reciprocity".
Pakistan's Embassy in Washington has claimed the two countries have been discussing the matter and are hoping to resolve it soon. "There are thus ongoing discussions between Pakistan and the US on the status of exemption/refunds on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, which should not be construed as withdrawal of any privileges", the embassy said on 30 May.
Last year, Pakistan took a tougher line against US officials working in Islamabad, including banning tinted windows on embassy cars and the use of diplomatic plates on diplomats' personal vehicles.
Bilateral relations between the two countries started crumbling in 2018 when Donald Trump publically blamed Pakistan for providing a "safe haven to the terrorists".