Visa-for-cash scandal: FIA arrests a dozen suspects in London travel scam

Seeks travelling record of British journalist who broke the story.


Asad Kharal July 25, 2012

LAHORE:


The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has rounded up a dozen suspects in the London Olympics visa scandal uncovered a day earlier by British tabloid The Sun.


The tabloid claimed that Pakistani officials were supplying forged passports and travel documents to London for the summer games.

One of the suspects is Nuzhar Sehba Naz, also known as Madame Bovary, who has been accused of receiving Rs300,000 from five people in exchange for promising visas for London.

A separate FIR registered by one Abdul Sattar maintains Naz placed an advertisement in a newspaper claiming to provide the visas. FIA officials said seven cases have already been registered against her on different charges of human trafficking.

The FIA has also arrested 11 other suspects believed to be involved in the visa scandal reportedly orchestrated by Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry. These are officials of NADRA and the Passport Office, Garden Town, Lahore.

The arrested passport office officials include Deputy Director Muhammad Iqbal Shahid and three others -- Muhammad Faheem, Ghaffar Ali and Aslam James.

While the arrested NADRA officials include Asif Sadiq and Syed Wasif Shah and five other female officials Rozeena Majeed, Rukhsana Maqbool, Sumera Tabassam, Uzma Khalil and Qudsia Idrees.

The female officials from NADRA have, however, been released on personal surety bonds. They will still appear before FIA investigators on Wednesday (today).

Meanwhile, the FIA has constituted several teams to carry out further raids and more arrests are expected. Some of the other suspects in the case include alleged mastermind Abid Chaudhry, proprietor of Dream Land Travel Agency Malik Bashir and his employees Bobby and Mubashir Tirmizi.

The case has been registered on the written directives of the principal adviser to the prime minister. A letter sent to the FIA said all those involved in issuing forged passports and travel documents in Lahore should be arrested immediately and a comprehensive report submitted consequently.

The FIA and intelligence agencies have also sought the travel records of Stephen Moyes, the British journalist who broke the story.

The intelligence agencies have gathered some information regarding the people Moyes met in Pakistan and the UK before and after the story was published, sources said. These agencies believe “foreign elements” are at work to defame Pakistan.

The FIA has asked the Pakistan Hockey Federation and other relevant organisations to submit the list of players and officials who will lead the Olympic delegation.

Background

The Sun claims to have broken into a crime ring which was issuing fake passports and visas, giving potential terrorists a chance to sneak into Britain along with Pakistan’s Olympic delegation.

The tabloid adds that Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry was bypassing stringent security checks to smuggle people to London under the garb of Pakistani officials in exchange for a payment of one million rupees – an option also offered to The Sun’s undercover reporter.

A script submitted by the interior ministry mentions an instance in which a computerised NIC and passport were issued from NADRA and the passport office, Lahore, to a person with fake particulars of Muhammad Ali.

The ministry has sought a full profile of Abid Chaudhry while the FIA is busy tracing those officials who let the documents made under the name of Muhammad Ali get attested without any objections.

The said CNIC was delivered on July 10 while the passport which was applied for on July 13 was delivered on July 19.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.

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COMMENTS (6)

Maria Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

The story is half truth. yes they gave money and they gave it for legitimate work. :)

Haji I. Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

Do you known how much corruption and 'registered gambling' and human rights abusing is in India, Russia, UK, Canada and United Arab Emirates and many well know countries - why world media always target Pakistan? Even pak media is associated and joint ventures and proudly reporting against us :) I think we're double minded nation and we're not sure that we could live without them. And they disgrace us softly :)

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