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U.S. visa delay for Islamist politician pakistan boycotts U.N. meeting.


The failure of
Pakistan’s Senate deputy chairman, a prominent Islamist politician, to
get a U.S. visa on time for a trip to the United States prompted
Pakistan to boycott a U.N.-sponsored meeting on Monday, a parliamentary
official said.

It
was not clear whether the failure of Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri to
get a visa on time for his trip was related to U.S. President Donald
Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of applicants amid a push to suspend
visas from seven other countries.

Haideri,
a leader of the Islamist Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, had
been scheduled to lead a delegation to a meeting of the
Inter-Parliamentary Union on Monday and Tuesday at U.N. headquarters in
New York.

However,
when he did not get a U.S. visa on time to travel by the weekend, he
canceled his trip and the rest of delegation decided to boycott,
Chaudhry Arshad, a director at the office of the Senate chairman, told
Reuters.

“Unless the
U.S. provides an explanation for this delay, no Senate delegation will
visit the U.S. and no member of Congress or U.S. diplomat will be
welcomed in the Senate,” Arshad said, referring to Pakistan’s upper
house of parliament.

Haideri
could not be reached for comment but an official at his party’s office
said it was awaiting an explanation from U.S. authorities. He declined
to be identified.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Islamabad declined to comment, citing privacy rules.

Pakistan’s
Express Tribune newspaper reported on Sunday that Haideri had applied
for the visa two weeks before his planned trip. It can take weeks for
Pakistanis to get a U.S. visa under normal circumstances.

Haideri
is known for his opposition to the U.S. “war on terror”, launched after
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

His party is in a coalition government with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ruling party.

Drawing
much of its support from Pakistan’s network of religious schools,
called madrassas, the JUI-F is one of Pakistan’s largest Islamist
parties dedicated to imposing Islamic law in Pakistan through elections.

The JUI-F openly supports “jihad” in India’s part of the disputed Kashmir region and a Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Last month, in response to a question about the visa policy toward Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Trump told ABC News:

“We’re
going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme. And
we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of
some problem.”

Trump is
considering issuing a new executive order on visas after an appeals
court upheld a court ruling last week that temporarily suspended his
Jan. 27 executive order banning travel from seven majority-Muslim
countries.
Pakistan was not on the Jan. 27 list.

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