Declaring arrested US citizen as spy inappropriate: Interior Ministry

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 (APP): The Ministry of Interior on Sunday said declaring the arrested United States citizen as spy would be inappropriate and before time as the reasons for which he was blacklisted in 2011 did not include the allegation of spying.

This was stated in a meeting held here at the ministry to discuss immigration issues and issuance of of visas to foreigners. High officials of the Ministry of Interior, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police attended the meeting.

According to a ministry spokesperson, the meeting specifically discussed the matter of US citizen Matthew Barrett, who entered Pakistan despite being blacklisted.

The spokesman, in a statement, said it was also inappropriate to link this particular issue with Raymond Davis case.

He said a report had been submitted to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan regarding issuance of visa to Matthew Brett and then granting entry into the country by the immigration staff despite being blacklisted.

The spokesman said according to the report, the staff of Pakistan’s Embassy in Houston were primarily responsible of the incident, as they issued visa to a blacklisted person without checking his record.

Secondly, the FIA personnel performing duty at the immigration counter at Islamabad Airport were held responsible for showing negligence and permitting Matthew for entering Islamabad, he added.

The Interior Minister, he said, had announced a reward of Rs 100,000 for System Incharge IBMS Fahad Qume as on his pointation that Matthew Barrett was blacklisted to enter Pakistan, the US citizen was arrested.

The federal minister also directed to update the system of immigration and blacklist.

The spokesman said the minister had directed the FIA to prepare a new policy framework to avoid such incidents in future.

The meeting decided that in future Pakistani embassies could not issue visas to foreigners without prior permission of the Interior Ministry, he added.