US national tells court his Pakistan visit is legal
Barrett, a national of the United States, is facing charges under the Foreigners Act and the Pakistan Customs Act.
He had been trying to give justification for his arrival in Pakistan despite being on a government blacklist, saying he has not violated any law by entering into Pakistan since he was issued a visa by the consulate in Houston.
We have found Barrett’s name in the blacklisted nationals list and a joint investigation team is probing into the matter, said the investigation official when Barrett was presented before a court on Tuesday in the federal capital.
The Federal Investigation Agency officials at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport arrested the US national on August 6.
It was revealed that he was deported and blacklisted from Pakistan in 2011 over charges of espionage and suspicious activities.
FIA had claimed that Barrett was travelling with fake documents to enter Pakistan. He was later taken into custody from a guesthouse.
Barrett claimed he had twice visited Pakistan in an attempt to settle here. However, sources said that intelligence agencies had reservation over his activities in Pakistan and hence citizenship plea was denied.
There were also unconfirmed reports Barrett had married a Pakistani woman and had children from her based on which he wanted to get Pakistani citizenship.
Meanwhile, the court accepted a three-day remand of Barrett on Tuesday.
Joint investigation team
A JIT has started a probe into the circumstances surrounding Barrett’s arrival in the federal capital.
JIT will conduct a detailed investigation to determine how he was issued a visa despite the fact he was deported and blacklisted from Pakistan for allegedly surveying nuclear facilities near Islamabad, said JIT’s terms of reference.
It will also examine how Barrett entered Pakistan; expose the role played by officials at Pakistan’s consulate in Houston and relevant FIA officers.