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Pak told to give US more traveller data

The Obama administration is increasing pressure on Pakistan to provide the United States with much broader airline passenger information, a crucial tool that American investigators use to track terrorist travel patterns, but a step that Pakistan has resisted, American officials said.

world Updated: Jun 01, 2010 02:00 IST

The Obama administration is increasing pressure on Pakistan to provide the United States with much broader airline passenger information, a crucial tool that American investigators use to track terrorist travel patterns, but a step that Pakistan has resisted, American officials said.

Pakistan, like other countries, currently provides the names of airline passengers travelling to the United States. But the administration is pressing for information on Pakistanis who fly to other countries, to feed into databases that can detect patterns used by terrorists, their financiers, logisticians and others who support them, the officials said.

Pakistan has for several years rebuffed this politically unpopular request as an invasion of its citizens’ privacy. But the issue is now on a "short list" of sticking points between the two countries — including some classified counterterrorism programs, a long-running dispute over granting visas to American government workers and contractors in Pakistan, and enhanced intelligence sharing — that have intensified since the failed Times Square car bombing on May 1, two senior administration officials said.

The US currently has a range of confidential agreements with countries governing how much information each will share about its citizens travelling on commercial airliners. Many countries share only information about passengers traveling to the US, while others, including several in the Caribbean, have agreed to share more information about other countries that their residents visit.

In case of Pakistan, American officials are seeking details like the recent travel histories of airline passengers and how they paid for their tickets.

The New York Times.