Friday, September 18, 2009

US Pays for Pakistani Security Company's Weapons

ISLAMABAD, Sept 17: A private Pakistani security agency being operated by a retired army captain, and providing security and protection to American embassy officials in the country, has imported over 80 sophisticated automatic prohibited bore weapons, following special permission granted by the prime minister.

The retired captain, who was picked up by a Pakistani intelligence agency a day earlier but soon released on the production of valid documents, acquired these licences for prohibited bore guns for Inter Risk, a company which has the contract to provide trained security guards for the Americans, highly informed sources told Dawn.

Sources privy to the development said 84 licences were issued with the special approval of Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani on a personal request from a senior US official who had apprised the prime minister of the need for having a specialised private security team to protect American diplomats in the country. Soon after grant of approval the weapons were imported from the US. Among the weapons for which special licences were issued include guns of 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibre rifles.

The sources said the arrangement was made with a Pakistani security company because local laws do not permit any foreign private security firm to operate within the country or import sophisticated weapons from abroad.

When contacted, a US embassy spokesman confirmed that the embassy was working with the private company, Inter Risk. However, he said that it was Inter Risk which might have imported the weapons, and certainly not the US embassy.

Interestingly, when Dawn contacted Capt Syed Ali Ja Zaidi (retd), he confirmed that he had applied for the licences on behalf of Inter Risk. However, he claimed that since the weapons were quite expensive and he was not in a position to buy them on his own, he was provided help by the contracting party in paying for them.

Read it all here.

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