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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Pakistan protests over US sting
Munir Akram, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations
Pakistan said the plot had put its envoy at risk
Pakistan has protested to the United States over what it says was an FBI sting operation involving a fake plot to kill Pakistan's UN envoy.

Islamabad called the operation bizarre and mind-boggling.

A spokesman said it had endangered the life of Munir Akram, Pakistan's permanent envoy to the United Nations.

Two men are being held in the US for allegedly laundering money for an agent posing as a militant who wanted to use a missile to kill Mr Akram.

Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Masood Khan asked why the US authorities had not picked an American "target" instead.

"It is mind-boggling why they could not use the name of an American functionary," he told a news conference.

He said that Pakistan had spoken to the US embassy in Islamabad and that it hoped America would "realise its mistake and give instructions for rectifying this faulty methodology".

'Auto-suggestion'

Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, New York, were arrested this month on charges of money-laundering and providing support to terrorism after a sting operation.

Yassin Aref, the imam of the mosque, and Mohammed Hossain, the mosque's founder, allegedly laundered money for a man who they believed had purchased a shoulder-fired missile to assassinate Mr Akram.

In fact, the man was working undercover for the US government as part of a surveillance operation going back a year.

Mr Khan said Pakistani diplomats were at greater risk as a result of the operation.

"This technique and methodology is tantamount to auto-suggestion and could have endangered the life of our ambassador," he said.

Pakistan has been a close ally of the US in its "war on terror".


SEE ALSO:
US Muslims held in missile sting
05 Aug 04  |  Americas
What is a legal sting?
23 Sep 03  |  Americas


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