Australia shuts Lahore, Karachi consulates

LAHORE:Australia has shut down its Lahore and Karachi honorary consulates over security concerns. Per reports, Australia foresaw riots in the country, therefore, it has warned its citizens and diplomats to be cautious about the prevailing situation in the country.Reports also revealed that Australian officials had also advised their citizens to follow Pakistani laws. Experts believe that the closure came as a result of the growing tension between the Pakistani and US governments. They claimed that the latest move on part of Australian officials would be the beginning of another crisis-like situation in the country, as the federal government is planning to release US national Raymond Davis.It has been learnt that the US had increased pressure for Davis’ release by stopping issuing visas to Pakistani citizens in the last ten days. Dozens of people who applied for US visas have been awaiting a reply. Four Pakistani journalists who applied for this year’s Innovation Journalism Programme have been told that they cannot pursue the programme anymore. However, US Consulate Lahore Information Officer Tristram Perry told Pakistan Today that visa processing was per routine and there was no link between visa delay and the Raymond Davis case.He denied reports that no visa had been issued to any Pakistani in the last ten days. Experts claim that the Pakistani government is seriously looking to release Davis, therefore, Australia has taken such a step as a preemptive measure in case the country breaks into riots after the release of the US citizen – PT