Rauf did not die in US attack, say fugitive's family
by Saeed Shah in Islamabad | November 25, 2008
The family of Rashid Rauf, the British terror suspect who reportedly died last week in a US missile strike in Pakistan, have claimed he was not killed in the attack.
Speaking through Rauf's lawyer, Hashmat Malik, the family of Rauf's wife in Pakistan said that the body had not been handed over to them and the authorities were not responding to their questions.
Rauf's death had been revealed by unnamed Pakistani intelligence agents, the usual source of information on the casualties of American strikes in the country's wild tribal area.
"It's all a concocted story," said Malik. "We're sure that it is not Rashid Rauf."
Rauf escaped from Pakistani custody in December last year in mysterious circumstances, on his way back from a court appearance in the city of Rawalpindi.
Many suspect that he bribed the police to let him go, but the family maintains that it was a ruse, so that he could be "disappeared" into the hands of Pakistani intelligence. Nothing was subsequently heard of him, until the news that he had died in North Waziristan.
"There was no reason for him to be in North Waziristan, he has no link with al-Qaida or the Taliban," said Malik. "The entire family is hopeful that he is still alive. He might have met his death, but not through this strike."
The lawyer said that the family believed that if Rauf is dead, the Pakistani security agencies had killed him after his "escape".
Although he was considered a main suspect in the plot to blow up transatlantic airliners in 2006, British police had sought Rauf's extradition over a separate case.
He was accused of belonging to a banned militant organisation in Pakistan that has close links to al-Qaida.