Pakistani officials said they were enforcing a rule that requires all foreign diplomats to have a “No-objection Certificate” (NoC) for travelling outside Islamabad.
Munter, who reportedly possessed the NoC, was stopped at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, and asked about the document, while he was travelling to Karachi last week. The envoy “strongly protested” the incident, which was subsequently taken up with President Asif Ali Zardari, the Dawn news reported.
The incident reflects the tension between Pakistan and the US since al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a unilateral raid in Abbottabad on May 2.
Pakistan has threatened to impose “more formal restrictions” where US diplomats will have to provide prior notification before traveling in the country. They however dropped the demand when the US administration threatened similar restrictions for Pakistani diplomats in the US, an unnamed US official was quoted as saying by ABC News.
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has also begun keeping a close watch on American diplomats in the wake of the raid against Bin Laden as it believed the CIA was running a secret network of American and Pakistani operatives in the country.
Pakistan Foreign office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said that “no US-specific” travel restrictions had been applied.
“However, there are general guidelines regarding the travel of Pakistan-based diplomats, designed only to ensure their safety and security, which have existed for a long time,” she said in a statement.