LAHORE: Nine people,
including five women, were arrested today by Pakistani authorities for
their alleged involvement in a visa scam that could have allowed
terrorists to sneak into Britain along with the country's Olympic team.
Among those arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were
Lahore-based officials of the passport office and the National Database
and Registration Authority (NADRA) and employees of a private travel
At least five women were among those arrested. The
arrested persons allegedly helped an undercover reporter of the British
tabloid The Sun acquire a Computerised National Identity Card and a
After the tabloid exposed the scam on
Monday, the Interior Ministry took action and suspended 12 officials of
the passport office and NADRA in Lahore.
The ministry also constituted a special team of FIA and NADRA officials, which arrested the nine persons.
"We have taken into custody some employees of the NADRA office in
Bhagwanpura and the passport office in Garden Town, including Deputy
Director Iqbal Shahid and Assistant Director Mubashir Tirmizi, for
issuing a passport in a false name," an Interior Ministry official said
on condition of anonymity.
The investigation team has recorded the statements of some other employees, the official said.
The team is expected to submit its report to Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik on Thursday, he added.
Cases had been registered against a total of 18 people for their alleged involvement in the scandal, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
Sources said PML-N worker Abid Chodhary, who works for the Dream Land
travel agency, helped The Sun's reporter in obtaining a passport.
Chodhary has gone into hiding to evade arrest, they said. Authorities
had already included his name in the Exit Control List, a document that
lists people barred from travelling out of Pakistan.
The Sun reported its journalist had infiltrated a criminal ring that offered false passports, visas and access to the 2012 London Olympics as "bogus support staff" of the Pakistani team.
The ring provided its undercover reporter a genuine Pakistani passport in a false name, the tabloid reported.
The scam centred round Lahore-based Dream Land travel agency and
Chodhary, who claimed he could get a two-month visa and smuggle a person
into the games as part of Pakistan's Olympic squad for 7,000 pounds.
In a related development, a spokesman for the Pakistan Olympics
Association said it would not be possible for any "unwanted person to
travel to London on fake documents as an official member of the Pakistan
contingent" because all 39 members of the Pakistani Olympic squad are
"bona fide persons duly accredited by the London Olympics Organising Committee."
Source 2: http://dawn.com/2012/07/24/12-passport-officials-suspended-in-uk-visa-scam/
Scary news, but I am glad it is over.
In: Regional News
Tags: pakistan UK visa scam, pakistan terrorists UK visa, Fake passport olympics visa, London olympics fake visa terrorists, terrorists try get fake olympics visa
Location: Pakistan (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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