KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday arrested a US citizen of Iranian origin on charges of illegally crossing into Pakistan from Iran and staying in Karachi.

The FIA came to know that Sirous Esmailzadeh recently entered the country without any travel documents by illegally crossing the Iran-Pakistan border and was staying in a five-star hotel in the city.

After getting permission from the competent authority, an FIA team rushed to the hotel on Club Road and found the said person standing in the lobby. He was asked about his identity to which he gave his name and told the raiding team that he possessed US as well as Iranian nationality. He came to Pakistan on June 6 without any travel document and failed to give any plausible answer. He was taken into custody for interrogation.

During questioning, he disclosed that he was born in Tehran in 1967 and at the age of 12 he along with his family went to the US and got citizenship. In 1996, he returned to Iran where he got married. Later, he divorced his wife in 1999 and again went to the US.

He said as his father’s house was forfeited by the Iranian government after the revolution, his lawyer advised him to come to Iran for documents and he went there in November 2020. But at the immigration counter at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, his Iranian passport was confiscated because his former wife’s father lodged a case against him in court and the court ordered him not to leave the country. In the meantime, he also lost his US passport.

He said as he was not allowed to leave Iran and there was no mission of the US in Iran, he came in contact with a man who told him that he could illegally cross the border to enter Pakistan where he could approach the US mission to get his passport. He came to Pakistan illegally by using different vehicles and was staying at the hotel in Karachi awaiting response from the US consulate, he said.

The FIA said that he was arrested and a case was registered under relevant clauses of the Foreigners Act of 1946.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021

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