According to details, police personnel deployed here at Nawaz Chowk, sector F-8, intercepted two suspicious vehicles in the wee hours of Tuesday. During the search, police recovered weapons from their custody. The riders of these vehicles were found, once again, to be American nationals.
To the surprise of many, the Americans were allowed to go along with their arms after an anonymous call that the officer in command at police picket received at the same time when preliminary investigation were being carried out from the foreigners.
Though it is not clear who asked the police to let the Americans go, sources revealed that US Embassy officials came into action swiftly and got their nationals freed after contacting high-ups of Pakistans Interior Ministry.
When contacted, Foreign Office spokesman told TheNation that there existed no law in Pakistan that might allow any foreigner or diplomat, including Americans, to move on busy roads of capital with illegal arms.
Talking to TheNation, the Spokesperson of US Embassy Richard Snelsire said he was unaware about the incident.
Following Tuesdays incident, a wave of anger, fear and uncertainty has been felt across the federal capital. It was not the first incident of such kind in the Federal Capital wherein foreigners were nabbed by police for keeping illegal arms. It has been observed that in a number of incidents police intercepted foreigners including American diplomats cruising busy roads of Islamabad carrying sophisticated arms and let them free after interception of 'hidden hands.
Some days ago, police officials deployed at a picket intercepted two Dutch diplomats and recovered sophisticated weapons including hand grenades from their possession. The police lodged a formal complaint, however, no such action was initiated in repeated cases of US diplomats and nationals who were allowed to go.
Following the incident, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik also stated that no foreigner would be allowed to carry illegal arms with him/her. The violators would be dealt with an iron hand, he added.
However, Americans were found violating the law of the land and to the surprise of the Minister himself, violators were given a safe passage every time.
Reportedly, it was the sixth incident in which the US Embassy officials/diplomats or nationals were found carrying weapons hiding in their vehicles during the last four months.
On June 23, 2009, a police team deployed at Khyber Chowk, G-9/4, intercepted a vehicle. The team found three American diplomats - Jeffery, Jeffdic and James Bill Koeen and driver Charlie Benzic - belonging to the regional security section of the US Embassy, in the guise of pakhtoons wearing Shalwar Kameez.
The police recovered four M-4 machineguns and four 9mm pistols from their possession after checking the vehicle. Before the police could lodge complaint against them, the diplomats were allowed to go after the intervention of US Embassy and Interior Ministry.
Another incident of this kind surfaced on August 5, 2009, when Police Inspector Hakim Khan was abused by a US security official namely John Arso as he (John) took out his pistol and harassed the inspector to a great extant. When contacted at that time, the US spokesman confirmed an exchange of harsh words. However, he said the US official never displayed pistol. The US security official was later sent back to Washington.
In yet another incident, on August 12, 2009, a Pakistani youth was intercepted and abused by a US Marine inside Diplomatic Enclave.
In another incident, on August 26, 2009, two US nationals stopped Mohsin Bukhari, owner of a petrol pump situated in F-6 at Agha Khan Road near Marriott Hotel. To the surprise of Mohsin, US officials took him to his petrol pump where three more investigators from US Embassy joined them. After questioning him for 30 minuets, the US team set him free.
Similarly, Another incident came to the surface where US embassys employee intervened in police matters. The incident occurred on October 6 when police arrested two Dutch diplomats who were carrying unlicensed weapons. However, the said diplomats were released on the spot on the intervention of diplomatic circles.
When said Dutch diplomats were being interrogated by police, a US embassy domestic employee namely Sunny Christopher (having US Embassys official card # 16570) reached there and interfered in the police matters.
Meanwhile, despite frequent attempts Interior Minister Rehman Malik could not be approached for comments over Tuesdays incident.