FO moves for release of ‘FBI agent’ held for keeping arms

* Seeks official input from Sindh govt, Interior Ministry after US embassy in Islamabad approaches it for settlement of issue

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office has approached the Ministry of Interior and the Sindh government in line with the official procedures and related requirements to resolve the issue concerning the arrest of an American national in Karachi on Monday.
In this regard, the United States Embassy is said to have contacted the FO, following which the latter sought the official input from the Interior Ministry and the Sindh government’s Home Department for the settlement of the matter, official sources shared with Daily Times on Wednesday.
“The issue would be settled soon. It has been taken up with the top government functionaries at the Sindh and the Centre,” the officials said, while hinting at the possible release of the US national in the coming days. 
The US media on Wednesday reported that the arrested man was an FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agent who was in Pakistan on a temporary duty.
The detained American national was going to board a flight from Karachi to Islamabad before being arrested by the Karachi police at the Jinnah International Airport on Monday for illegally possessing a 9mm pistol and 15 bullets. 
In his statement recorded before a magistrate, the accused is said to have contended that he ‘inadvertently’ carried the firearm.
Explaining the background of this episode, security sources told Daily Times that the Sindh government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US government in July 2008 that allowed the American police experts, including instructors and trainers from the FBI, give anti-terrorism training to the Sindh Police. The five-year agreement was reportedly renewed last year.
“Under this programme, the FBI police experts in counter-terrorism operations pay scheduled visits to Pakistan for three to six months to empower the law enforcement machinery here combat terrorism on modernised and effective lines,” a senior intelligence official said. The federal and Punjab governments, he said, have also signed similar agreements with the US.

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