Daily Times : Over 2,700 foreigners arrested for suspected militant links so far

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Over 2,700 foreigners arrested for suspected militant links so far

By Akhtar Amin | Daily Times | November 16, 2008

PESHAWAR: Law enforcing agencies have so far arrested more than 2,700 foreigners for their suspected links with Al-Qaeda or other militant organisations in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

In an interview with Daily Times, World Prisoners Relief Commission of Pakistan (WPRCP) chairman Javed Ibrahim Paracha said on Friday that after the fall of Taliban government in Afghanistan, hundreds of foreigners who fought against the US and its allied forces in Afghanistan, had illegally entered into Pakistan’s tribal and settled areas.

Paracha said that hundreds of foreigners were arrested in Pakistan for their suspected links with Al-Qaeda and under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act.

He claimed that the WPRCP had so far got 2,500 arrested foreigners released from Pakistani prisons through the Peshawar High Court after the law enforcing agencies failed in proving their suspected links with Al-Qaeda and producing solid evidences against them in the court.

The WPRCP chairman further said that cases of 200 arrested foreigners, filed by his organisation, have been pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and high courts. He said that out of these 200 foreigners, 150 were languishing in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.

Paracha allegedly said that the law enforcing agencies take away money from majority of foreigners at the time of their arrest. The police and other law enforcing agencies took documents and money from foreigners at the time of their arrest and did not return it while deporting them to their homelands, Paracha alleged.

Citing the case of two Muslim-convert French engineers Mahabin and Azeem, Paracha said law enforcing agencies in Dera Ismail Khan had arrested them while they were coming to Peshawar from Quetta on September 13, 2008. He said the agencies had taken away about 10,000 dollars from them and for recovery of the money, he had put on notice DI Khan police.

He said three days ago, the PHC issued their release orders from Central Jail Peshawar and the jail authorities had handed them over to the WPRCP.

Paracha, who was also a former member National Assembly (MNA) of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said that embassies of the countries from where citizens detained in suspected links with Al-Qaeda belong, did not cooperate with the WPRCP for preparation of their traveling documents and visas to deport them to their countries.

On September 18, 2008, he said the PHC had released three Russian former military officers arrested by Pakistani law enforcement agencies in South Waziristan for their suspected links with Al-Qaeda some seven years ago.