Pakistan: Leader of prominent Islamic party denied visa by US

Abdul Ghafoor Haider's visa was denied due to 'technical refusal', a senior Senate official said. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Feb 12, 2017, 11.10 AM (IST)

The United States has denied visa to a prominent Pakistani leader, with "technical refusal" being the possible explanation.

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Pakistan's Senate deputy chairman and the secretary general of Jamiat Ulema Islam, was scheduled to lead a two-man delegation to the United Nations on February 13 and 14.

But the visa problem has forced Pakistan to shelve the plan.

"The visa of Haidri was put on hold in what can be termed a technical refusal," the Express Tribune reported, quoting its sources.

The visit of the two senators has now been cancelled on the direction of Pakistan's Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani who had taken notice of the issue.

The move comes days after a US court refused to reinstate President Donald Trump's ban on people from seven Muslim- majority countries, which did not include Pakistan.

Trump signed an executive order last month barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, fulfilling one of his campaign promises.

Citing official sources, the paper said the Senate Secretariat had applied for official visas for them two weeks ago.

"They said when the Senate Secretariat checked with the US Embassy about the status of Haidri's passport through official channels, it was told that the US authorities would get back to it by Tuesday, clearly meaning that Haidri could not travel to the US to attend the IPU conference," it said.

Earlier, the Senate Secretariat said that there was a delay in issuance of visa to the deputy chairman and the Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani had taken notice of the issue.

Rabbani issued directives to his secretariat not to entertain any US delegation or diplomat till the issue was resolved.

"No delegation, member of Congress or diplomat of the US will be welcomed by the Senate of Pakistan, Senate Standing Committees and the senators in their official capacity till this issue is resolved," Rabbani had said in a statement issued to media yesterday. 

(WION with inputs from PTI)