Dawn : Student arrested in UK seeks consular service

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Student arrested in UK seeks consular service

By M. Ziauddin | April 18, 2009

LONDON, April 17: One of the Pakistani students arrested in last week’s anti-terrorism raids, Janas Khan, has sought Pakistan High Commission’s consular service.

Meanwhile, the high commission has also obtained the names of four solicitors who are representing seven of the arrested students who have refused the offer of consular services. The commission is trying to contact the students through their solicitors.

Sources in the high commission said that the remaining two Pakistani students had refused consular services and have also requested authorities not to involve their families in the matter.All 12 persons were arrested on April 8 on suspicion of being involved in hatching plots to stage terrorist acts in the UK.

One, whose identity is yet to be established but believed to be a Bangladeshi, was released on the very second day, and of the remaining 11 still in custody, one is said to be Afghan national.

The UK authorities have so far not shared with Pakistani authorities even preliminary information about the students like their names, home addresses and the names of the institutions where these students were studying and the subjects they were studying; when they arrived in the UK and when do their visas expire.

Ignoring Pakistan’s request to either put those arrested on trial, or to allow them to remain in the country to continue their studies, the UK authorities are said to have decided to let the police continue their investigation.

There has also been talk of deporting some of the arrested students against whom actionable evidence is not likely to be found.

Under the law, police could keep the suspects in custody for 28 days. So, police has 18 days more to marshal the required evidence to charge them.

Sighatullah Kadri, QC, a British lawyer of Pakistani origin, answered in the affirmative when asked if the UK authorities could deport the students even if the charges under which they were arrested were not found valid.

He said perhaps the police had arrested these students only on the basis of taped ‘incriminating’ conversation, but since taped conversation is not admissible in the court of law and also the MI5 itself would not like to use this evidence in the court fearing exposing its methods of investigations, the police is finding itself in a fix. “They do not want to let the suspects go scot-free because of what evidence they have but they cannot also keep them under detention beyond 28 days without coming up with actionable evidence.”