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Courtesy NCPA - The National Council of Pakistani Americans
FBI wants active role in Pakistan
By Umar Cheema, The Nation, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Chief of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tuesday held a crucial meeting with Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat on his second leg of tour to Pakistan and discussed the expansion plan of agency's operations in the country to curb terrorist elements.

The FBI Director, Robert Mueller, who arrived here Tuesday from Saudi Arabia, also held extensive talks with the top brass of Intelligence Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency.

The US Ambassador to Pakistan, Nancy Powell, and the FBI's operational head in the country, accompanied Mueller in his one-hour meeting with the Interior Minister. Secretary Interior Tasneem Noorani, Additional Secretary Iftikhar Ahmad and another official were also present in the first round.

While the latter two officials were excluded from the last twenty-minute talks which is believed to be held on the most critical issues and Pakistan's new 'assignments being delegated by the US to meet its "objectives" in the region under the garb of war on terrorism.

An official privy to the meeting, told The Nation, the US officials have sought Pakistan's co-operation to institutionalise the agency's role in the country by establishing an active co-ordination between FBI and IB as well as FIA.

The sources said the meeting decided to modernise the anti-terrorism cell in IB and FIA that would be run with full collaboration of FBI. It has been learnt that the FBI official head also informed the minister that his country is ready to make a significant downsizing in its staff stationed in Pakistan if it feels the said two agencies are sufficient enough in toeing the operational lines of FBI.

The minister agreeing on the idea, however, asked the visiting delegation to send a team of instructors to Pakistan to train the agencies' staff here that would be more effective for the trainees since it would help acquainting them with the domestic challenges pertaining to terrorism and how to curb them, sources said.

The govt believes this option as cost-effective and more beneficial since the special cadre of anti-terrorism would be trained on modern lines and yet with practical exposure at a place where they are to do their job.

According to the sources, the delegation also discussed the current exchanges of intelligence gathering. The US urged Pakistan to speed up the process in order to make the war on terrorism more effective.

Mueller is likely to leave for Afghanistan within a day to discuss the rising security concerns of the US in the war-torn country where US troops had been killed in an ambush by deserted Taliban.

FBI chief's ongoing tour of the countries is of immense importance where public resentment is consistently growing and sabotage activities have taken place time and again damaging the US interests in the regions.
The National Council of Pakistani Americans is a Washington-based civil rights and public education organization.

2003-06-07 Sat 19:15ct