Pakistan releases FBI agent on bail

KARACHI: The FBI agent who was caught trying to carry ammunition and knives on board a PIA flight has been released from a Karachi police station after a judge approved his bail against surety bonds of Rs 1 million.

The District and Sessions Judge Malir granted bail to the US citizen identified as an FBI agent who was arrested from the Jinnah International Airport on Monday.
Earlier, a foreign office spokesman said the US citizen didn’t enjoy diplomatic immunity as he was an FBI agent.

Police office Rao Anwaar said the court had directed the man to submit a surety bond of one million rupee ($9,800) for his bail.

The police had detained the American on May 5 at an airport in Karachi after ammunition and three knives were seized from him.

A US law enforcement official identified the man as an FBI agent and said he was there as part of an anti-corruption operation.

While, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has completed its inquiry over the matter of detained US FBI agent.

Joel Cox was held at Karachi airport Monday when security staff found 15 bullets for a 9mm handgun during routine checks for a flight to Islamabad.

During investigation, the FIA retrieved key information over Karachi from Cox laptop. According to officials, the information was important but wasn’t of sensitive nature. The information was also transferred from his laptop, the officials added.

According to sources, police had been facing severe pressure over the arrest of the US agent and authorities had ordered the police to take immediate measures for security agent’s release.

The sources said it has been decided to release FBI agent Cox on bail.

Meanwhile, US State Department also said that diplomatic staff in Pakistan is in contact with Pakistani authorities to ensure US agent’s release.

The American agent arrived in Karachi on May 1 and was detained Monday when he was about to board a flight for Islamabad, Anwaar said. The officials found the man carrying ammunition and three knives, as well as electronic devices.
A law enforcement official in the U.S. identified the man as an FBI agent and said he was in Pakistan as part of a multi-agency, anti-corruption program. The official said the agent appears to have made a mistake and that there s no indication he was trying to carry bullets aboard the plane. The official said authorities are hopeful the situation will be resolved soon with the agent s release.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the detention and said the U.S. was coordinating with Pakistani authorities to resolve the matter.

“This individual detained is an employee of the FBI who was on a temporary duty assignment to provide routine assistance to the legal attache at the U.S. mission. But we are coordinating closely to resolve this manner with authorities, and we are hopeful in that regard.”

The arrest marked the latest incident to trouble relations between Pakistan and the U.S., two uneasy allies since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.