In this scuffle of diplomacy between the United States and Pakistan, it seems that our approach is not one for backing down or appeasement. After Washington announced that it would implement stricter travel measures on Pakistani diplomats, Pakistan has responded tit-for-tat and withdrew concessions it had granted to U.S. missions as part of the war on terror.

The restrictions have been conveyed in the form of a letter issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the embassy of the United States. The letter said the US diplomatic cargo at Pakistani airports and ports will be strictly treated in accordance with the provisions of Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which does not provide an exemption from scanning. Under the new restrictions, special treatment for U.S. Embassy and consulate staff at the airports ends. The U.S. mission also has been instructed not to use “tinted glass” on vehicles and rented transportation and to stop installing non-diplomatic license plates on official vehicles. Diplomatic staff will no longer be allowed to use “biometrically unverified/cell phone SIMs.

These restrictions are a response to the US State Department’s harsh policies on Pakistani diplomats. The US State Department reported that due to complaints by US Diplomats that they were frequently harassed in Pakistan, it would impose a travel restriction on Pakistani diplomats, a categorically hostile and baseless move, considering the fact that Pakistan had received no complaints from US diplomats through its fast-track formal complaint mechanism.

Owing to the highly unpredictable and back-and-forth relations of Pakistan and Untied States, we knew such tit-for-tat hostilities were coming. Tensions have flaring ever since the Trump administration announced that it had suspended nearly all of the $1.3 billion in annual security aid given to Pakistan, and friendship between the US and India didn’t help. However, such an unprecedented step, taken through the route of diplomats, is still unsettling.

Such diplomatic hostilities were noted during diplomats of Pakistan and Soviet Union during the Cold War times, when Pakistan was officially allies with the US against the communist regime. Such hostility is also present in diplomatic exchanges between India and Pakistan. This is the first time in the history of Pak-US relations that tensions have inflamed to the point of imposing restrictions on diplomats, and represents the extent of strayed bilateral relations between the once uneasy allies.