Daily Times : Terror suspect's father says Islamophobia to blame for son's arrest

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Terror suspect's father says Islamophobia to blame for son's arrest

* Intelligence official dismisses reports linking the arrests in Britain to Rashid Rauf

zakir hassnain | daily times monitor | April 14, 2009

PESHAWAR: My son Abid Naseer has no link with any jihadi or religious organisation. His only crime is that he is a Pakistani Muslim, Nasrullah Jan Khattak, father of a Pakistani student arrested by the British police, said on Monday.

“My son prays five times a day and his only fault is that he wears a beard,” said Khattak while talking to reporters at his Hayatabad residence. The British officials arrested 12 men on April 8 of which 11 are Pakistanis. Abid hails from Yaghi Ghulam Khel, a village in Takht-e-Nusrati tehsil in southern district of Karak. Abid went to Britain on a student visa around two-and-a-half years ago and his visa expires in September this year. Abid is doing master’s in information technology at Bradford Professional Study College, Manchester.

Nasrullah, a government contractor, said the Pakistan government had not taken any measures for the release of the students. He requested the British government not to deport his son, who he insisted was innocent.

"This is all about his prayers and his beard. I am his father and I know him. He is not involved in any mysterious plot. We have done nothing wrong. We have nothing to hide," he told the Guardian in an interview in Pakistan. He denied media reports that his family had come from the Tribal Areas, where Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud holds sway and said they hail from Karak. "This is a great offence," Nasrullah said. "We are from an old district, with educated people. Not the tribal belt."

Meanwhile, the uncle of another suspect, told the Guardian that he and other relatives had regularly sent their nephew between £800 to £3,000 to help pay for his studies.

"He was too ambitious about his life and his studies. He was not up to any mischief. So I say to the UK government, please don't spoil his future," he said. Rahimullah Yousafzai, a veteran journalist, said: "Maybe some careless conversation or act has landed them in trouble. A few of them may be involved in this case, but I don't think it's a real terrorist plot."

Intelligence: A Pakistani intelligence official said the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had no involvement in the case prior to last week's raids. He dismissed reports linking the arrests to Rashid Rauf, a British-Pakistani implicated in a previous alleged plot and believed killed in an American drone strike. Muhammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramazan Foundation, a Muslim youth organisation in Manchester, appealed for the local community to stay calm.