ISLAMABAD: An unannounced policy of the protocol wing of the Foreign Office (FO) has tightened the noose around diplomatic corps in the federal capital.
As a result, the foreign missions in Islamabad have been planning on meeting the prime minister to protest against the withdrawal of diplomatic tax exemptions.
Only the British High Commission and Canadian High Commission have been granted food quotas whereas the same has been denied to the diplomats of Jordan, Turkey, Maldives, Iraq, Palestine, Nigeria, Kenya, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Moreover, several foreign missions, including Poland, UAE and those from the European Union (EU) could not get their liquor quotas approved due to the work-to-rule policy being adopted by the employees of protocol wing.
According to sources with the FO, these measures had been taken to prevent the misuse of privilege by foreign missions.
The tax exemption privileges for foreign diplomats, consular officers, and staff members are generally based on two international treaties: The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Since all such services and privileges are based on the principle of reciprocity, this means that no privileges are granted to a foreign official unless other embassy and consular personnel receive the equivalent privileges in that country.