Islamabad: After the recent spat over CIA diplomat, who gunned down two men in Lahore, another controversy is brewing between Pakistan and US again.

According to reports, Islamabad has barred several American military personnel from leaving the country because of expired visas and other documentary irregularities.

There are varying claims about the number of US soldiers denied exit. Some sources claimed about 20 to 30 people have been affected while others put the figure at slightly less than 100.

The personnel were assigned to the US Office of Defence Representative in Pakistan (ODRP), which oversees bilateral military relations, including training and equipment. The Foreign Office was tight-lipped on the matter because of its "sensitive nature". A US military spokesman admitted that there were problems.

An unnamed Pakistani military official tried to play down the matter and said: "These are procedural issues."

Pakistan and the US have not yet been able to "come out of the distrust" that followed the detention of CIA operative Raymond Davis, the report said. The ISI and CIA had got down to reshaping their relationship before Davis' release by addressing some thorny matters like "complaints about US arrogance or heavy-handed approach in dealings with Pakistan," the report said.

Shortly after Davis was freed last month under a "blood money" deal whereby over USD 2.3 million was paid to families of the two men he killed, CIA-operated drones fired missiles at a tribal gathering in North Waziristan that killed some 40 people.

Pakistan pulled out of a trilateral ministerial meeting on Afghanistan to protest the drone strikes and called for revisiting the fundamentals of the relationship.

A revision of the visa policy is on the cards. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is likely to visit Washington later this month to discuss measures to revive the dysfunctional relationship, the report said.

(Agencies)