A US national, arrested on Friday for allegedly scouting nuclear facilities near the federal capital, was sent on a 14-day judicial remand by a trial court.
The 27-year-old, named Mathew Craig Barret, is likely to be deported in a few days. The interior ministry cancelled his visa last month, sources told The Express Tribune on the suspicion of his spying on the country’s nuclear facilities. Until he is deported, Barrett will remain in Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Police sources claimed that the interior ministry had sent a letter to the additional inspector-general (Special Branch), Islamabad, to trace Barrett’s whereabouts after he escaped from Fateh Jang last month following a scuffle with security agencies officials.
“He scuffled with security officials (manning the) outer-most cordon of the nuclear facilities after he was captured from near the area. Later, a case was registered against him with the Fateh Jang police. However, he had dodged arrest,” claimed an official of the police. After the AIG reported that he was living with a family in Sector E-11, the ministry directed the police to arrest Barrett, whose multiple business entry visa was otherwise valid till November 2 this year. The man’s visa was cancelled on May 20 after he was blacklisted.
The ministry directed the Islamabad police to deport Barrett before June 4. However, he could not be arrested before Friday, June 11.
Sources maintain that security agencies had been trailing Barrett for a long time for ‘suspicious activities’ and his visits to areas with sensitive installations, including nuclear facilities at Jhang Bahtar near Fateh Jang.
He has been married to a Pakistani girl for almost three-and-a-half years. Earlier, the couple had been living with the girl’s parents in Sector G-8/1. Later, the Barrett family moved to Sector E-11.
Security officials said Barrett told them he was “enjoying married life peacefully in Pakistan without indulging in any unlawful activity”.
Police said that, although his family did not resist the arrest, his father-in-law, who is a lawyer, later went to the ministry of interior and protested against Barrett’s arrest. He maintained that his son-in-law’s arrest was unlawful.
Once deported after being black-listed, Barrett will never be able to return to Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2011.