London visa scam: FIA team to grill key suspect in Britain

Other key accused Abid Chaudhry arrested in Lahore.


Umer Nangiana August 02, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Interior minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday a team of Federal Investigations Agency (FIA) officials will soon travel to Britain to probe the alleged Olympic visa scam, in which British newspaper The Sun accused Pakistani authorities of providing forged travel documents.


The minister’s statement came hours before the other key accused Abid Chaudhry was arrested by an FIA team in Lahore.

“Asad Ali has been identified as the main suspect and will be interrogated by the FIA investigation team along with other officials said to be involved in the scam,” Malik told journalists outside parliament, adding that Ali will be brought to Pakistan with the help of Interpol.

The ministry had earlier requested the international police organisation to issue red warrants for the arrest and subsequent extradition of Ali to Pakistan for due investigations and trial.

Lauding the progress made in investigations so far, Malik said details of Asad Ali’s passport will soon be made public. He added a case will also be referred to the National Press Trust of United Kingdom against The Sun.

The FIA’s Lahore chapter has already registered a case against Ali for providing false information to registration authorities at the time of applying for a passport, said sources.

The FIA, meanwhile, arrested Chaudhry and another accused Raqeeb on Wednesday, sources said. The agency is also conducting raids to track down two travel agents Mushtaq and Bobby, who are also said to be behind the released video which The Sun used as ‘evidence’ in its report.

Background

UK-based tabloid The Sun had published a story claiming uncovering a visa scam in which Pakistani authorities were smuggling people to the 2012 summer games as members of the national delegation, giving potential terrorists a chance to sneak into the high-profile sporting event.

It maintained Abid Chaudhry was providing forged travel documents in exchange for a payment of Rs1 million.

Following the report, Malik called a high-level huddle of officials from the interior ministry, FIA and NADRA and decided to cross-examine the efficacy of the registration procedure of NADRA and Integrated Border Management (IBM) at the Islamabad airport.

The interior secretary was directed to constitute a team headed by the FIA’s director general. (With additional input from Asad Kharal in Lahore)

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.

COMMENTS (7)

Nasir Mahmood | 8 years ago | Reply

Mind it Asad Ali is Interior Minister's brother nationality-wise, holding dual nationality. This is the reason most people are against dual nationals holding public office in Pakistan.

gp65 | 8 years ago | Reply

"“Asad Ali has been identified as the main suspect and will be interrogated by the FIA investigation team along with other officials said to be involved in the scam,” Malik told journalists outside parliament, adding that Ali will be brought to Pakistan with the help of Interpol".

What is Asad Ali "suspected" of doing? He owns what he did . He was part of a sting operation to prove that a ring operated that would provide fake Pakistani documents in lieu of money. While initially Pakistani cabinet said this was a "fake scam" and they would sue "The Sun", they have clearly gone in reverse gear after the British High Commission supported The Sun. The suspects should be the people involved in the ring to grant fake documents in lieu of money.

@Fahan

First of all, while his name matches the British passport it does not match is NADRA card. The orginal statement came that he was provided the passport on the basis of his existing NADRA card and there was no scam and The Sun had a fake story. Secondly the fact that errors can be made in any system is not the issue. The issue is that a minister was supposedly involved in a ring that provides fake Pakistani documents in lieu of money.

Finally when the Abu Jandal drama happened, Pakistani government said that geting a fake Pakistani passport was easy and so the fact that he had those documents did not prove state complicity. When this story broke, the theme being pushed by Pakistan government was that NADRA has extremely strong controls and it is virtually impossible to get a fake Pakistani passport.

Truth is unchanging but when you lie, it is a different story every day.

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