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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 15:36 GMT
Pakistan seeks US immigration talks
Protesters burn a US flag during a rally in Multan in protest at INS policy
Protesters in Multan burned a US flag in protest
Pakistan's foreign minister is bringing forward a trip to Washington amid anger over tough new US immigration measures.

Pakistan is a front-line state in America's war against terrorism, but despite it our people are being victimized

Shahid Mahmood Ansari - APYA
Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri was to begin his first official US visit on 28 January, but will now fly out 10 days earlier.

The announcement came as further demonstrations were held in Pakistan in protest at the US measures.

Pakistan is among 20 countries whose nationals must register with the US authorities under new anti-terror laws.

About 100 young people gathered in the city of Multan on Wednesday to protest at the requirements.

They burnt an American flag and demanded better treatment from the US authorities.

Angry

Mr Kasuri plans to meet Secretary of State Colin Powell and may also meet Attorney General John Ashcroft during the week-long visit.

Colin Powell
Colin Powell is likely to meet Mr Kasuri
Islamabad wants Washington to remove Pakistan from a list of 20 mainly-Muslim nations, whose male nationals are required to register with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS).

Pakistanis have until 16 February.

Citizens from the listed countries will need to be photographed, provide fingerprints and be interviewed by the US authorities.

It is feared the move could lead to the deportation of about 50,000 Pakistanis currently living in the US.

'Victimised'

Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali told reporters he had asked Mr Kasuri to travel to Washington earlier than planned to address the issue.

He said: "[Mr Kasuri] will discuss the matter of registration of Pakistanis and explain to US authorities Pakistan's point of view."

In Multan, organisers of the protest against the US decision said Pakistan was being treated unfairly.

Shahid Mahmood Ansari, president of the All Pakistan Youth Alliance, said: "Pakistan is a front-line state in America's war against terrorism, but despite it our people are being victimised."

Mr Ansari said Pakistan had taken great risks when it gave support to the US-led coalition after the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.

"Is it a reward for this support that our people are being detained in America?" he asked.


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15 Jan 03 | Business
10 Jan 03 | Americas
10 Jan 03 | Americas
10 Jan 03 | Americas
27 Dec 02 | Americas
20 Dec 02 | Americas
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