Islamabad Police Raids US-linked Security FirmSeptember 19, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad police in an early morning raid claim to have recovered 61 illegal guns and nine pistols from the offices of a private security firm providing security to the US Embassy. The raid comes after it was revealed that the Interior Ministry had issued licences of highly sophisticated assault riffles to the company with the Prime Minister’s special permission.
The police has registered a case of fraud against the owner of the company and arrested two persons from the offices of Inter-Risk.
Firm guarding US diplomats gets 80 arms licences
ISLAMABAD: 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.
Inter Risk has been working for many years in Pakistan and mostly deals with providing security, protection and security consultancy.
When asked about the controversy surrounding another foreign security firm, Blackwater or the XE, Capt Zaidi denied any linkage with, or knowledge of, any such company.
He said he had a five-year agreement with the Office of the Regional Security in US embassy and he was following the agreement by trying to provide standard security to the staff of the embassy in Islamabad.
Dawn – Pakistan