ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: United Arab Emirates authorities have denied Pakistan access to two of its detained nationals in Ras al Khaimah, say sources. The two were arrested on April 5 this year along with a top Lahore dentist Dr Ayaz Ali Khan, ostensibly for their alleged links with al Qaeda.
Khan was, however, released after two months, following the reported personal intervention of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Of the two who are still being interrogated by the UAE agencies, one has been identified as Obaid. But the name of the other person could not be ascertained.
Sources say the three were arrested from Khan’s Ras al Khaimah residence by the UAE’s premier intelligence agency, supposedly on a tip-off received from its counterpart in Islamabad.
The Pakistani diplomats who sought access to the two detainees were told that they had close links with al Qaeda, say sources. But Khan’s wife insists that the people ‘abducted’ with her husband were ‘university employees’ and were not Khan’s ‘guests’, as is alleged.
Khan heads the department of dentistry at Shaikh Zayed Hospital in Lahore and is also supposedly the vice chancellor of the Islamabad- based Riphah International University. The professor’s family maintains that Khan had been helping set the curriculum for Ras al
Khaimah College of Dental Sciences, an offshoot of Ras al Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University.
On his return to Lahore, Khan told journalists that the UAE intelligence agencies had arrested and interrogated him and that the questions mostly pertained to his ‘personal life’. He insisted he was clueless about the identity or even the nationality of interrogators as the interrogation was conducted in complete darkness and the questions were asked by interpreters.
But sources say Khan is closely affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami and that ‘foreign elements’ were part of the interrogation team.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, law enforcement agencies have restricted Khan’s movement and asked him to not talk to the media. Further, say LEA sources, spooks have also been mobilised to keep an eye on Khan’s family, particularly his younger brother, because of suspected links with al Qaeda. Khan, it is said, has also been told to revoke his contract with RKCDS (or RIU).
Given the gag orders, Khan is very reluctant to talk about the incident. All he’ll say is that early morning on April 5, people in civvies stormed his rooms and took him to an unidentified place. According to Khan, he was only interrogated for four hours during his 64 days of captivity. He reiterated what he’d said at Lahore airport, that all the questions were about his personal life.
However, Khan categorically denies any links with al Qaeda. He says he was informed about Asad Waheed’s disappearance when he returned to Pakistan. “I’m not aware of my being under surveillance but I have ended my contract with (RKCDS?) RIU,” says Khan.
Meanwhile, Khan’s friend Dr Sumair, who led the movement for his release, has details about the others who were arrested with Khan.
He told The Express Tribune that a total of seven Pakistanis, including Khan, were picked up on April 5 from Ras al Khaimah. The others, says Sumair, were retired colonel Tajammul Hussain, Dr Akmal Waheed, Asad Waheed, Asadullah and two other Pakistanis. Sumair says Hussain was the project director, Asadullah occupied an administrative post, Asad Waheed was Khan’s personal staff officer and the other two were also RKCDS staff.
(With additional reporting Abdul Mannan)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2010.
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