Pakistan Arrests Suspected American Spy

NEW DELHI: In a strong echo of the Raymond Davis case, Islamabad said yesterday that it arrested a US citizen – who had been deported for spying, years ago – who managed to fly into Islamabad despite being blacklisted.

The American, an Alabama native called Mathew Craig Barrett, was previously arrested in May 2011 in the Fateh Jang area near a highly secretive military research facility, the Associated Press said. It is a commonly-held ‘secret’ that Fateh Jung is one of the areas where Pakistan has a nuclear facility. Barrett, 33, was blacklisted and deported from Pakistan in 2011 on charges of espionage.

“If someone was blacklisted there should (must) have been something serious,” Sarfaraz Hussain, a spokesman for the country’s Interior Ministry said.

It may be recalled that five years ago, in January 2011, Raymond Allen Davis , a contractor with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) shot and killed two men in Lahore. The incident and its aftermath led to US-Pakistan diplomatic relations touching their worst point ever.

Davis was arrested by the Pakistan police but the US government said he qualified for diplomatic immunity because he was an employee at the US consulate in Lahore. He was released three months later, in May 2011, after weeks of secret negotiations between American and Pakistani officials, a pledge of millions of dollars in “blood money” to the victims’ families, and quiet political pressure by Pakistani officials on the courts.