News / Asia

Officials: FBI Agent Arrested in Pakistan

VOA News
Pakistani officials say an American has been arrested in the port city of Karachi following a security check at an airport.

Senior police officer Rao Anwar says in an interview with the VOA Urdu service on Wednesday that the American was detained Monday after authorities at the Karachi airport found he was carrying 15 rounds of ammunition for a 9mm handgun and three knives during the routine checks.  Authorities say he was bound for the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Anwar said "the American failed to provide any legal permission for carrying the bullets."  He added that the man's laptop and other possessions have been sent for forensic examination.

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad would not confirm the man's identity, but spokeswoman Meghan Gregonis told VOA the embassy is "aware of the situation that has been reported, and we are coordinating with Pakistani authorities to resolve this matter."

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the detention. 

She also did not name the man but said he was an FBI agent on a "temporary duty assignment to provide routine assistance to the legal attache at the U.S. mission.''
The Airport Security Force in Karachi detained the man before handing him over to police.  He is charged with carrying illegal ammunition, which carries a maximum 14-year sentence.  A court on Tuesday remanded the man to police custody until Saturday.

The incident comes at a time of relative calm in the sometimes strained relationship between the United States and Pakistan, which have conducted joint efforts against terrorism.

The 2011 fatal shooting of two Pakistani men by CIA contractor Raymond Davis in the eastern city of Lahore sparked a diplomatic crisis between the countries.

A Pakistani court eventually freed Davis following a payment of $2 million to the families of those killed.

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