Dutch diplomats arrested in Pakistan for carrying illegal arms

Dutch diplomats arrested in Pakistan for carrying illegal armsIslamabad - Pakistani police arrested briefly two Dutch diplomats for carrying illegal weapons in Pakistani capital Islamabad a day ago, media reports said on Wednesday.

According to the liberal English-language Dawn newspaper, the officers stopped a suspicious diplomatic car with a camouflaged number plate in a high-security zone near the official residence of President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday.

During a search of the vehicle, police recovered two 9-millimetre pistols, four magazines, two smoke grenades, two stun grenades and six bulletproof jackets.

The two diplomats, identified as Tomas Smith and William Van, failed to produce any permit for the weapons, the newspaper cited unnamed security officials as saying.

The diplomats were released hours later when the first secretary of the Dutch mission verified their identification.

Officials at the Dutch embassy were not available for the comment Wednesday.

Although the diplomats had violated the country's law, they could not be charged as they enjoyed diplomatic immunity, reported Dawn.

The conservative newspaper The Nation reported that the Dutch diplomats were allowed to leave with their belongings after the intervention of US diplomatic officials.

The newspaper claimed an employee of the US embassy, Sunny Christopher, was in another vehicle backing up the Dutch diplomats, giving rise to the speculations that the latter might have been transporting weapons for the Americans.

The incident occurred as Pakistani media, public and opposition parties have raised concerns over alleged use of controversial private security companies like Xe(Blackwater) and Dyncorp by the US embassy. (dpa)