Thursday, July 21, 2011

NOC, NOC - Who's There? The Diplomats. The Diplomats Whoever You Are, You're Not/Not Allowed to Enter Peshawar

Because, obviously, friends don't let friends travel to such a dangerous place. Har! Har! Har!

There is a new low in the battered relationship between the United States and Pakistan. For the fourth time in several days, US embassy personnel were stopped by local Pakistani security forces from entering Peshawar for lack of something dainty called a "No Objection Certificate (NOC)."

Pakistan's The Nation reports that "the government of Khyber Pakhtun-khwa has banned the entry of foreigners in the province without No Objection Certificate (NOC) of Interior Ministry." Excerpt below:

"The sources said the KP government took this step due to the law and order situation in the province.

The Home Department issued instructions to IGP that without NOC of the Ministry of Interior, no foreign national including diplomats could enter the limits of Khyber Pakhtun-khwa. If any foreigner was found in violation of the orders, he might be taken into custody."
Here's more from the same report. Now, I imagined that its reporters have examined those diplomatic cars and are reporting objectively that they all are "bullet proof with latest jammers."
"In another attempt of violation of Pakistani law, seven US Embassy personnel tried to enter Peshawar without complete travel documents, however, the officials turned them back to Islamabad from Peshawar Motorway toll plaza here on Wednesday. Sources said that seven personnel of US Embassy were travelling in three separate vehicles bearing registration number SV-706, ST-169, Q.H -790 and all of them were bullet proof with latest jammers."
You can read in full here. Wash your eyes afterwards.

Elsewhere it has been reported that the US diplomats told the local officials that they had been told by the US embassy that a NOC was not required for entry into Peshawar. Pakistani officials, apparently informed them that possession of diplomatic passports was not enough. 

What -- it's like you went to sleep one day and the next day Peshawar is a different country, with its own foreign policy and bilateral arrangements?

This is kind of like having New York declare that all Pakistanis traveling there not only need US visas, they must also get a New York No Objection Certificate from the state. Or for that matter, having the states of California, Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts (where there are Pakistani diplomatic posts) declare that no foreigners, including Pakistani diplomats may travel to those states without written permission.

I take it that the Chinese are also required to get a NOC? Hookay. Then the Pakistanis could argue that this is not plain, old, harassment of US diplomatic personnel in Pakistan. 

I supposed it would also be quite easy to show that those Americans are not being singled out. If the public can see how many foreigners, including those who want to kill and maim Pakistanis and Americans have been apprehended in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa.

Say, you think those Afghan Talibans or other terrorists on training go line up at the office and apply for a NOC?

No comments: