Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another weblog

Haqqani says 3 Pakistanis arrested in Boston not involved in terrorism

leave a comment »

NEW YORK, The three Pakistani men arrested in greater Boston area last week as part of the investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing do not appear to have any involvement in terrorism, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani has said.

Haqqani told ‘The Boston Globe’ that law enforcement cast a wide net during the investigation and that the three men were only taken into custody because alleged immigration violations were discovered while they were being questioned.

“For all we know, there will be no connection at the end of it,” Haqqani said in remarks published by the newspaper on Tuesday. “I’m a little critical of law enforcement who ran to the press first, because you can actually destroy people’s lives. So far, there is nothing that implies anything of a terrorist nature,” he added.

The Globe said Pakistani officials are increasingly concerned about the plight of the three men who were swept up in the Times Square investigation. None have been criminally charged, though they are being held on alleged immigration violations, it said.

Haqqani said, “A wide net has to be cast. But we have to make a distinction between terrorists and people who in the course of an investigation have lapsed on other issues.”

On Monday, Pakistan’s honourary consul general in Boston, Barry Hoffman, visited one of the men, 27-year-old Aftab Ali Khan, at the Suffolk County House of Correction for about an hour and was quoted as saying, “He’s proclaiming his innocence.”

During a telephone interview after the meeting, Hoffman said Aftab Khan told him he did not know Faisal Shahzad, who is charged with trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square on May 1.

“He’s quite frightened,” said Hoffman, adding that Aftab Khan speaks poor English and has not hired a lawyer or appeared in U.S. Immigration Court yet.

He said Aftab Khan asked him if he could arrange for him to eat halal food and have a visit from an imam. Hoffman, according to The Globe, said he plans to meet with the other two men who were arrested.

Pir D. Khan, 43, a taxi driver who was Aftab Khan’s roommate in Watertown is being held at the Plymouth County House of Correction. Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, 33, a computer programmer, was arrested in Maine and is being held at the Cumberland County jail in Portland.

The FBI and federal prosecutors in New York and Boston declined to comment on the case.

Last week, US Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that investigators believe there is evidence that the three men provided money to Shahzad. But, he said investigators were trying to determine whether the men knew they were supplying funds for an act of terrorism that authorities allege was directed by the Pakistani Taliban.

Friends of Aftab Khan and Pir Khan said both men were married to American women and seemed to be living productive, ordinary lives until their arrest Thursday during a series of raids in the Northeast, according to the newspaper.

Pakistan Embassy spokesman Nadeem Kiani said that no decision has been made on whether Pakistan will assist the three with obtaining legal counsel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: