April 25, 2005

Are the missing Pak fans Al Qaeda operatives?


CHANDIGARH: Pakistan's cricket tour to India may have ended but to 11 "missing" fans from that country, the game seems to be far from over. Security agencies now suspect them to be Pakistani intelligence agents or terrorist operatives.

The fans were part of the 2,754 Pakistani entourage that was granted visas by India as a goodwill gesture for the tour starting here early March.

The Pakistani fans had been allowed to come to Mohali near here where the first Test match between India and Pakistan was played at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium during March 8-12.

Senior Punjab police officials say the state and central security agencies are coordinating to get hold of the missing Pakistanis and send them back. But the security agencies were virtually groping in the dark.

There are apprehensions that some of these missing fans could be linked to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or even to terrorist organisations like the Al Qaeda.

"Had they wanted to stay legally, they could have sought extension of visa. None of them or their relatives and friends has cared to inform the police for over a month now. Suspecting them is natural," a senior Punjab police officer said.

A case has been registered against the missing fans under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act at the Gharinda police station near Wagah land border check post between both countries.

Search parties are being sent to various locations in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other states to trace them.

Those missing include Ibrahim Khan, Mohammed Zahir, Malik Zeb Alam, Syed Mohammed, Shahzad, Tasveez Khan, Inayat Samuel, Mohammed Kamran, Qayum Ayub, Waliyaz Khan and Nawar Khan.

For about a week after the match ended on March 12, 34 fans were reported missing after expiry of their visa. However, 23 of them reported at the Wagah check post in the next few days.

The fans had come through the Wagah land border and had been brought to Chandigarh - the joint capital for Punjab and Haryana states - by special buses. The majority of the fans who arrived for the Test match were not seen at the stadium during their stay.

They went shopping, sightseeing and watching movies. Others went for trips to Delhi, Shimla, Patiala and other places.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes they can be who knows.Only soniya and our invisible PM