PESHAWAR: Law enforcement agencies in Peshawar intercepted two US Consulate vehicles on the Motorway and recovered small arms in large quantity. The Four US diplomats, their three Pakistani drivers and staffers detained, were later released.
Talking to The Express Tribune, SHO Chamkani Haji Inayatull said that they had intercepted two bullet proof vehicles belonging to the US Consulate in Peshawar. They found four pistols with 29 magazines, four sub-machine guns with 36 magazines and four other magazines of ammunition.
“Four US diplomats identified as Vincent Capodicci (passport number 910153561), Admin Technical Staff Timothy Daniel (910159397), Vice Consul Stacy Leon Carter (910179341), Daryl Lee Groom (910179341), security in-charge Manzoor, driver Ihsan Khan and driver Asif Khan were travelling in two vehicles QJ-679 and ST-476,” he said, adding that the group was returning from Malakand, where they had met several people including Vice Chancellor Malakand University Dr Rasool Jan.
“They told us they had gone to Malakand, and were coming back to Peshawar when they were held,” explained the SHO. He added that as per the law any foreigner visiting any area in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the adjacent tribal belt was required to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the ministry of interior but the US diplomats had violated the law and had visited Malakand without permission.
US Consul General in Peshawar Marie Richards reached the spot and after negotiating the matter, managed to secure the release of her staff after an hour long talk. But not before the police registered an FIR against the three Pakistani employees of the Consulate under 13 Arms Ordinance (AO). She later accompanied the diplomats to the nearby Chamkani.
SP Shafiullah Khan told The Express Tribune that they had checked the documents of the US diplomats and with the exception of carrying illegal weapons by the Pakistani employees of the consulate; all the documents were found valid.
“We have registered an FIR against the three local employees Ihsan, Asif and Manzoor for carrying illegal weapons under section 13 AO and the rest of the four diplomats have been released and their vehicles have been returned to them,” he added.
Police said that the foreigners could prove to be a good target for militants or even criminals and that was why they should have obtained proper NOC and informed the local police about their visit. They said that the arms with the diplomats were also illegal and they suspected that the vehicles too had fake number plates.
Earlier on May 31, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, through its Home and Tribal Affairs Department, had issued a notification listing a rule change regarding travel by foreign diplomats to the tribal areas. The notification had asked foreign missions and diplomats to not use vehicles having rear-gun parts or the vehicles would be re-exported.
The notification was followed by another from the same department on May 31 asking foreign missions and diplomats to not carry weapons without government authorisation.
“The foreign mission and diplomats are not supposed to carry weapons and if found carrying weapons without prior information to the foreign office, the weapons would be confiscated,” the notification had stated.
The notification further stated that any member of foreign mission found traveling to the prohibited areas without the requisite NOC, may be asked to turn back respectfully.