UK blames Pak, US for failure to help Brit prosecutors in nailing liquid bombers

September 10th, 2008 - 4:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Benazir Bhutto

London, Sept 10 (ANI): The British law-enforcing agencies have squarely blamed the US and Pakistan for not cooperating with their (British) prosecutors to prove beyond doubt that the liquid bombers were actually guilty of planning to blow up seven airliners on their way to various American airports from Londons Heathrow.

Of the eight men arrested by the British Police, seven admitted to blow up transatlantic airliners. The eighth man was cleared at Woolwich Crown Court. But, after more than 50 hours of deliberations, the jury did not find any of the defendants guilty of conspiring to target aircraft.

It was not clear whether the Crown Prosecution Service would go ahead with a retrial but what is clear, however, is that more evidence might have been gathered had Rashid Rauf, a man believed to have been a key figure in the alleged plot, not been arrested in Pakistan, reported the Guardian.

Raufs arrest in Pakistan on August 9, 2006 came as a surprise to the British police and intelligence officers involved in the surveillance of the alleged plotters in the UK, the paper said and added: It is understood that Rauf was arrested at the request of US authorities, who wanted to strike as soon as they heard about the alleged plot.

It added: Raufs arrest was unwelcome in London . The US action triggered arrests in Britain which were forced on the security and intelligence agencies sooner than they expected, or wanted.

Rauf, a Briton and wanted here for murder, later escaped from police custody in Rawalpindi in broad daylight just two weeks before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in the same city. His escape also aborted an alleged plan said to be mutually agreed between Islamabad and London to exchange Rauf for two high-profile Baloch leaders wanted for allegedly waging war against Pakistan army.

The Baloch leaders seeking sanctuary in the UK were arrested for the exchange purpose but after Raufs escape the court released them ostensibly for want of evidence. (ANI)

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