The whole case of Matthew Craig Barrett, who is speculated to be a US spy, is a like a knot that refuses to unravel. What the government has admitted to, is that the issuance of his visa was a mistake by the Pakistani mission in Texas, Houston, and that is how he landed in Pakistan to the surprise of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and everybody else. Even if the officials in Houston had not updated his name on their blacklist, why was he issued a four-year visa and that too within 48 hours? How fast or how carelessly were his papers processed?

There is no point to the myriad speculations; they only make one spin conspiracy theories. The facts that have been uncovered till now make one thing clear, that there must be a reckoning in Houston, and that the government must undertake a long hard look at all the missions abroad and their inefficiencies. This is not the first blunder - in 2015 glaring financial irregularities were found in Pakistan’s UK mission. Additionally, the FIA also needs to overhaul its standard operating procedures.

The US embassy in Islamabad said it was not at liberty to discuss further details of Barrett’s case under the Privacy Act, which forbids the disclosure of information about an American citizen without prior consent. Unlike Kulbhushan Yadav, there are no claims that Matthew Barrett is an American military officer. There are reports that he has a Pakistani wife and children who he has been kept from visiting. For now, we cannot blame the US for sending spies, since we cannot prove that he is one, nor can we let him stay, considering he was caught in a restricted area with photographs and maps. Even with a visa, the state of Pakistan has full discretion over refusing entry or deporting any citizen it feels a threat to national security. While the Houston office was asleep at the helm, the FIA was also clueless when they allowed a security threat to enter the country. We can only hope that this is the only such mistake that has been made in the recent past. That this happened at a sensitive time when the US announced that it is withholding $300 Million funding to Pakistan Army just creates more anxiety about our foreign relations and diplomatic inadequacies.