Pakistan, U.S. To Form Anti-terrorism Group

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 13:02:07 +0100

WASHINGTON -- A Pakistani delegation is scheduled to arrive in
Washington this week for talks on forming a joint working group with the
Americans to combat terrorism, officials at the Pakistani embassy said
The delegation also plans to discuss the plight of Pakistani prisoners
in U.S. jails and some Pakistani suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

The joint working group, the officials said, may include members of the
FBI and Pakistani intelligence. The FBI already has an office in the
Pakistani capital, Islamabad. President Pervez Musharraf said recently
that U.S. anti-terrorism experts are providing "information and
communication facilities" to the Pakistani security forces. 

Pakistan, however, denies reports that U.S. Special Forces and Pakistani
troops are conducting joint raids along the Afghan border to trace
al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives reportedly hiding there. 

Officials in Islamabad said the delegation is going to the United States
with new proposals for catching Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists. 

In Washington, the Pakistani team is expected to meet National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, State
Department Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Francis X. Taylor and
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca. 

The team also plans to hold separate meetings with FBI officials to
discuss joint operations against the terrorists, the officials said. 

Besides the interior minister, the Pakistani delegation includes chiefs
of the Federal Investigation Agency, National Database and Registration
Authority and the National Crisis Management Cell. 

The delegation is expected to urge U.S. officials to review charges
against more than 250 Pakistani citizens arrested in the United States
after Sept. 11 for immigration violations. 

Wants Release 

Pakistan wants Washington to release those not involved in criminal or
terrorist activities. 

Officials in Islamabad said that some members of the delegation may also
visit the U.S. Navy prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to see
Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects. 

The suspects include at least a dozen Pakistani citizens. Pakistani
officials said several of the prisoners were Taliban foot soldiers not
involved in terrorist activities against the United States and the
officials requested their release. 

The delegation is also scheduled to arrive with a list of 15 Pakistani
citizens living in the United States who, the officials say, face
criminal charges in Pakistan. They include several politicians and
retired government officials accused of stealing millions of dollars
from government funds. 

"We are demanding their extradition so that they could be tried back
home," said a senior Pakistani official. 

Source:  United Press International

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