American diplomats in Islamabad began carrying weapons while moving around in the city, according to police and eye-witnesses, in a practice seen as a daring violation of International laws and diplomatic immunity.
Pakistani police have also found American U.S. diplomats traveling outside city limits without proper authorization in vehicles carrying with fake license plates.
The practice came to light in several incidents during the past few weeks when police intercepted U.S. diplomats loaded with weapons in public places, but no action could be taken because of diplomatic immunity.
Three police officers told Al Arabiya they caught U.S. diplomats visiting Peshawar and other cities in the troubled Northwest Frontier Province with heavy arms in their vehicles, which also had fake license plates.
One officer said he was “astounded” but did not want to give his name because he works in the diplomatic compound.
The U.S. diplomats not only carried weapons in their cars, but were seen carrying them in public places like elite hotels.
International law bars diplomats from carrying arms without explicit approval by the host government which is responsible for their security. Diplomats typically do not travel outside the capital in marked diplomatic cars for safety reasons.
Action against US diplomats
The situation is not only potentially embarrassing for Islamabad, but could also lead to dangerous confrontations since neither Islamabad nor the foreign office had any information from the ministry of foreign affairs on any potential change in procedure or how to deal with such situation.
The police and security agencies in Islamabad told Al Arabiya they were unclear on whether to take action against U.S. diplomats violating the diplomatic codes or risk national security. They feared the illegal practice by American diplomats could be part of a dangerous trend to undermine national security.
Fearing an increase in such violations from U.S. diplomats, police staff sought instructions from the ministries of Foreign Affair and Interior on how to deal with such instances.
Sources told Al Arabiya every time U.S. diplomats were intercepted for violations of diplomatic codes security personnel from U.S. embassy rushed to the spot to prevent any action against them and did not allow further search until they reached the spot.
The U.S. embassy did not return requests via phone and email for comment and authorities in Islamabad were unavailable for comment.