Liverpool Echo : Jacqui Smith claims public safety was main factor in terror raids

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jacqui Smith claims public safety was main factor in terror raids

By Ian Hernon | April 20, 2009

HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith today claimed that "public safety" was the main factor in terror raids across Merseyside and the wider region earlier this month.

In a Commons statement she refused for "operational reasons" to be drawn on thye nature of the bomb plot allegedly underway when 12 suspects were seized.

Speculation has centred on Liverpool, a Manchester shopping centre and a night club as the primary targets.

She said: "These arrests were pre-planned as the result of an ongoing joint police and security service investigation.

"The decision to take action was an operational matter for them, but the prime minister and I were kept fully informed of developments.

"The priority at all times has been to act to maintain public safety."

Ms Smith also denied that the April 8 raids were compromised by the blunder by anti-terrorist chief Bob Quick, who has pictured in Downing Street carrying clearly visible briefing papers of the impending Operation Pathway.

She said that because of the gaffe the police brought forward the raids.

"The fact that these papers were inadvently made public did not make any difference to the decision to carry out arrests - it simply changed the timing by a matter of hours," she added.

Of those arrested 11 remain in custody and have had their detention extended to Wednesday. The 12th is an Afghan who is now in the hands of the immigration authorities and is expected to be deported.

Ms Smith praised all those involved in the operation, including Merseyside Police, saying: "They are to be commended for [the] professional manner in which they carried out the arrests."

The Peninsula : Pakistani seeks apology from Britain for son’s arrest

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pakistani seeks apology from Britain for son’s arrest

April 20, 2009

PESHAWAR: Like other families of Pakistani students held on terror charges in Britain, family members of Janas Khan, who is under detention and may face deportation, are worried about his safety.

Ahmad Jan, father of Janas Khan, yesterday said his family had no links with militants whatsoever, lamenting the attitude of Pakistani and British officials who had not contacted him to date.

Demanding his son’s immediate release, he asked the UK to tender an apology for implicating his “innocent” son in a false case.

A cloth merchant by profession and a diabetic, Jan said he was shocked to see the images of his son on television with reports of his arrest. “For God’s sake, we have no links with those people. We are respected people and deal in cloth business,” he said, adding before going to the UK, his son was employed with a pharmaceutical company here.

The worried father said his son did his SSC from Edwardes High School, FSc and graduation from Superior Science College, Peshawar and both are reputed institutions. After completing his graduation Janas Khan got a job at a medicine company Before going to UK in March 2007, he was working with a multinational pharmaceutical.

Ahmad Jan said during his stay in UK, Janas Khan would regularly contact his family to inquire about the health of his parents, especially his mother who is a heart patient and has undergone a bypass surgery.

Jan said that he talked to his son in the first week of this month, which turned out to be the last conversation until now. “His mother is still unaware of the detention of Janas Khan as we do not want her to have this information given her poor health,” Jan added.

Expressing disappointment over the ‘irresponsible’ attitude of both the UK and Pakistani officials, he said none of the two governments had informed him about his arrest even after the lapse of nine days.