Pakistani court frees FBI agent on bail


Pakistan has released on bail an agent of US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was arrested for carrying ammunition while trying to board a plane.

A Pakistani court in the southern port city of Karachi released the agent on Thursday on USD 10,000 bail after three days in custody.

The release came after police completed the investigation and submitted the report to the court.

“He was caught and a court today granted him bail,” Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said at a news briefing.

The US agent, who has been identified as Joel Cox, had been arrested at Karachi Airport on Monday. Security staff found him with 15 bullets for a handgun during routine checks for a flight to the capital Islamabad.

The US Embassy has confirmed that the agent remains in Karachi after his release.

US officials claim the arrested FBI agent, who is assigned to the FBI Miami Field Office, was in Pakistan as part of a multi-agency anti-corruption program.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam, said the man “was not a diplomat and therefore, had no immunity,” adding that he was in Pakistan on a short-term visit and had a valid visa.

The arrest had threatened to open a new chapter in troubled relations between Pakistan and the United States.

In January 2011, the fatal shooting of two men by Raymond Davis, a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor, in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Pakistani judicial authorities eventually freed Davis following the payment of USD 2 million as blood money to the families of the dead men.

Pakistani officials say the current case should not be compared with the Davis shooting, pointing out that the FBI agent had not been carrying a weapon.

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