Pakistan boycotts UN meeting after US visa delay for Islamist politician

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - 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.

RELATED: Life as a Muslim family in America

6 PHOTOS
Life as a Muslim family in America
See Gallery
Life as a Muslim family in America
STERLING, VA - JUNE 1:Tasneem Moiz, 8-months, plays in the beard of her maternal grandfather, Khalid Iqbal, at the home of Iqbal's daughter, Sadaf Iqbal, on June 1, 2011, in Sterling, VA. Ibrahim Moiz, a Muslim American of Indian descent, and Sadaf Iqbal, a Pakistani-American, are raising three daughters ranging in age from 4-years-old to 8-months-old. Moiz also acts as a mentor to a couple of teenagers, trying to bridge the gap between the ways of the teen's foreign-born parents and U.S. customs.(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
STERLING, VA - MAY 31: Ibrahim Moiz, 2nd from L, reads to his middle daughter, Maryam, 2, as his other daughters, Tasneem, 8mo, and Asiyah, 4, entertain themselves at Moiz's home on May 31, 2011, in Sterling, VA. Moiz, a Muslim American of Indian descent, and his wife Sadaf Iqbal, a Pakistani-American, are raising three daughters ranging in age from 4-years-old to 8-months-old. Moiz also acts as a mentor to a couple of teenagers, trying to bridge the gap between the ways of the teen's foreign-born parents and U.S. customs. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
STERLING, VA - MAY 31: Ibrahim Moiz, C, leads his two older daughters, Maryam, 2, L, and Asiyah, 4, to their bedroom near bedtime at their home on May 31, 2011, in Sterling, VA. Moiz, a Muslim American of Indian descent, and Iqbal, a Pakistani-American, are raising three daughters ranging in age from 4-years-old to 8-months-old. Moiz also acts as a mentor to a couple of teenagers, trying to bridge the gap between the ways of the teen's foreign-born parents and U.S. customs. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
STERLING, VA - JUNE 1: Sadaf Iqbal, R, receives her daughter, Maryam, 2, with open arms at the family's home on June 1, 2011, in Sterling, VA. Behind them is a wallhanging that bears a famous quote from the Qur'an called the 'Verse of the Throne' done by a Chinese Muslim master calligrapher named Haji Noor Deen. Iqbal, a Pakistani-American, and her husband, Ibraham Moiz, a Muslim American of Indian descent, are raising three daughters ranging in age from 4-years-old to 8-months-old. Moiz also acts as a mentor to a couple of teenagers, trying to bridge the gap between the ways of the teen's foreign-born parents and U.S. customs. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
STERLING, VA - MAY 31: Ibrahim Moiz, R, gives his daughter, Asiyah, 4, a high-five for using proper manners at the snack table as Moiz's wife, Sadaf Iqbal, L, works on the computer at their home on May 31, 2011, in Sterling, VA. Moiz, a Muslim American of Indian descent, and Iqbal, a Pakistani-American, are raising three daughters ranging in age from 4-years-old to 8-months-old. Moiz also acts as a mentor to a couple of teenagers, trying to bridge the gap between the ways of the teen's foreign-born parents and U.S. customs. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"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.

SEE ALSO: John Podesta: 'Forces with the FBI' didn't want Hillary Clinton to win

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:

SEE ALSO: Justin Trudeau visits US with two aims: Push trade, avoid Trump's ire

"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.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.