The Nation (Pakistan) : Pak students denied bail

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pak students denied bail

By: Asif Mehmood | May 13, 2009

LONDON - A British court on Tuesday rejected the bail applications of four Pakistani students currently detained at Manchester prison for deportation on national security grounds.

Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan, Tariq-ur-Rehman and Abid Naseer were arrested in bungled operation PATHWAY on April 8 on suspicion of their involvement in a “terror plot”.

The Barrister of students, Sibghat Ullah Qadri QC in the Special Immigration Appeal Commission of the Royal court argued that National security should not be invoked in this case because no criminal charges were pressed by the crown prosecution service after 13 days of rigorous interrogation.

The Lawyer further argued that chief constable of Greater Manchester police Peter Fahy confirmed in a Press statement that these students are innocent until proven guilty and free to walk away.

Barrister Qadri and solicitor advocate Amjad Malik argued that commission should look at the secret evidence provided by MI5 and MI6 with great caution as there assessment has proven faulty here and abroad in cases of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and forest gate terror arrests.

It was further submitted to the court that Justice should be seen to be done as it is pivotal for British justice system to gain the confidence of Muslim and minority communities for the sake of national harmony and good race relations which has a direct impact on the national security of the UK.

Barrister Ms Harrison representing one student Abid Nasir said that the Secretary of State does not have clear indication that these boys can be sent back to Pakistan without fear of torture, therefore, power to make a deportation order is an administrative abuse of power.

George Brown and John Nicholson representing Tariq-ur-Rehman and Shoaib Khan said that their clients are lawful entrants and have the right to bail.

Earlier Robin Tam QC, arguing on behalf of the British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, opposed the bail for all four Pakistani students on the premise that no restriction can stop them from continuing unlawful activities and they, if released, will continue to be part of Al-Qaeda’s London-based network. He assured the court that talks are under way with Pakistani authorities to seek assurances that these students will not be tortured upon return.

Mr Justice Mitting and Mr Justice Daly of the Special Immigration Appeal Commission, while refusing the bail application, said the court has further directed the Secretary of State to produce open and secret evidence by July 6, 2009.

The next hearing of these appeals will be on July 27 at the Royal Courts of Justice.