LONDON: A Pakistani man deemed an “al Qaeda operative” and a threat to Britain’s security, cannot be deported due to worries for his safety, an immigration court ruled on Tuesday.
Abid Naseer, 24, was alleged to have plotted “mass casualty” attacks in northwest England and still poses a threat to Britain, the court said. But nonetheless, the court granted his appeal against deportation. Another Pakistani man, Ahmed Faraz Khan, 26, said to be “willing to participate” in Naseer’s plans, also won his deportation appeal on the same grounds.
The pair was among five Pakistani men who were arrested in counter-terrorism raids in April last year but were never charged. “Despite the restoration of a democratically-elected parliament and government, after eight years of military rule, Pakistan remains a state dominated by its military and intelligence agencies,” judge John Mitting said. “There is a long and well-documented history of disappearances, illegal detention and of the torture and ill-treatment of those detained, usually to produce information, a confession or compliance.”
Home Secretary Theresa May said she was “disappointed” by the rulings. “As the court agreed, they are a security risk to the UK. We are now taking all possible measures to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activity.” The third man also won his appeal against deportation because he was not a “knowing party” to the plans. Two others who have returned to Pakistan lost their appeal to return to Britain. The five men were arrested in Manchester and Liverpool in northwest England.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 19th, 2010.