ISLAMABAD - Blacklisted US national Matthew Craig Barrett will likely to get a clean chit against the charges of his illegal entry into Pakistan as investigations of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police have found no malafide intention of his action.

On the other hand, then visa officer of Pakistani Consulate in Houston; Sajida Altaf Qazi, will appear before the FIA team next week to justify her act as to why she issued visa to a US national ignoring the fact that his name was on the blacklist.

FIA is presently quizzing Mr Barett as a court in Rawalpindi on Tuesday handed over his custody to the agency on a three-day physical remand that will expire today.

Mr Barett would again be deported to US as his name remains on the blacklist even if he got a clean chit into this case. An intelligence agency has also launched an investigation to ascertain the circumstances of his entry into Pakistan.

Well-placed sources in the FIA informed The Nation that investigators had found no malafide intention of the US blacklisted national under the law as he had a valid Pakistani visa. “Our finding is that there is no malafide intention of Mr Barrett’s entry into Pakistan but it can be the negligence of visa officer,” a senior FIA officer connected with the probe said while wishing anonymity. He said that negligence on part of the visa officer would be ascertained after she appears before the FIA team next week.

“When a blacklisted foreigner gets Pakistani visa, it means he/she is no more on that list and this can be the negligence of the visa office,” another FIA officer commented. He said that all foreign missions abroad who had visa issuing authority had access to the blacklist that was being updated regularly.

According to FIA sources, the investigation team has contacted Sajida Afzal who is presently in Manila, Philippines, and she had given her consent to appear be the deputy director FIA. “Ms Sajida has informed us that she would be available in Islamabad of next week,” the officer confirmed.

Earlier, Mr Barrett had claimed before the investigators that he had come back to Pakistan to explore the possibility of permanently moving here after his deportation in 2011. The FIA sources confirmed that his wife and children are in US and he alone came back to Pakistan.

During probe, it revealed that Mr Barrett mentioned the wrong address on the disembarkation card upon his arrival at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, and this raises serious questions about his credentials. However, the investigators are of the view that this is not a big crime.

Barrett was issued a multiple-entry four-year visa by Sajida Altaf Qazi, vice consul at the visa section in Pakistan’s mission in Houston, US. The visa that was issued on June 22 would expire on June 30, 2020. Under the visa conditions, he could stay in Pakistan up to maximum one year after his entry.

The US citizen, who married a Pakistan girl and have two children from here, was arrested in a joint raid of FIA and police from the capital hours after his arrival at Benazir Bhutto International Airport on last Saturday morning. FIA has registered a case against him under the Foreigners Act and Pakistan Customs Act. On the directions of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a separate case had been registered against two officials of FIA immigration officials, Raja Asif and his son Ehteshamul Haq, who were deputed at the airport at the time of his clearance from there.

A joint investigation team (JIT) headed by Superintendent of Police (Investigation) retired Captain Mohammad Ilyas has been formed on the directions of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to ascertain the facts surrounding the issuance of visa to the US citizen and his entry into Pakistan, The JIT that is assisted by the FIA and officials of intelligence agencies is conducting a detailed investigation to ascertain how Barrett was issued a visa.

Barrett was blacklisted for his re-entry into Pakistan and deported from Pakistan in 2011 on charges of espionage and taking photographs of nuclear installation near Jhang Bhattar area of Islamabad.