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Pakistan issues 67 visas for CIA agents: report

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 23, IRNA -- The Pakistan Embassy in Washington has issued 67 visas to CIA officials for deployment in Pakistan, a leading Pakistani daily reported on Thursday.

The decision followed an understanding between the two governments on CIA deployments and postings in Pakistan, Dawn newspaper reported.

“Under the new arrangement, the CIA has accepted Islamabad’s demand that all intelligence postings in the country should be fully disclosed, and shared with the Pakistani government,” the paper quoted sources as saying.

“Pakistan agreed to issue the visas only after an understanding on full disclosures.”

The agreement was reached after talks in Islamabad earlier this month between ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and top CIA officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta.

“Now the ISI will be fully aware of who is doing what and where he is posted at,” a diplomatic source said. “There will be no room for misunderstanding and suspicions.

Relations between the CIA and Pakistan’s major spy agency, ISI, soured over several issues especially over the arrest of a CIA undercover agent, Raymond Davis, in February who had killed two Pakistanis in the city of Lahore.

After Davis was proved to be a CIA agent, Islamabad then asked the CIA to provide information about the number and activities of its agents in Pakistan.

Relations reached at the lowest ebb when the US military helicopters conducted unilateral operation and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad on May 2.

Days after Osama's murder, the US media reported that the CIA had established its center in Abbotabad for spying on the compound where Osama was killed.

Opposition religious and political parties had mounted pressure on the government to expel the CIA agents from Pakistan.

The reports about visas to CIA agents may spark protest in Pakistan.

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