Raufs escape major blow to Paks war on terror credibility

December 17th, 2007 - 12:42 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Dec 17 (ANI): The escape of UK terror suspect Rashid Rauf is seen as a major blow to Pakistan’s proclaimed effectiveness as an ally in the global war in terrorism.

According to The Australian, it is believed that Rauf’s escape may also lead to a diplomatic row between Pakistan and Britain. The British Government has been pressing the Musharraf regime for over a year to extradite him.

Before lifting the state of emergency in Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf claimed that he was withdrawing it as the law and order situation had improved, but contrary to this claim, UK terror suspect Rashid Rauf escaped from police custody on the very same day.

Rauf, wanted by the UK Government for his alleged involvement in a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners in August 2006, escaped even while Musharraf was claiming that the imposition of emergency had brought the tumultuous state of the country under control, The Australian said in its analysis.

The wave of terrorism and militancy has been stopped under the emergency, and there has been a considerable improvement in the overall situation, Musharraf had said, promising that the January 8 elections would be fair and transparent.

Speculations are rife that Raufs escape might have been the staged to do his encounter killing.

Rauf’s lawyer, Hashmat Habib, said that Rauf disappeared in mysterious circumstances.

Police took my client from Adiala jail for a court appearance in nearby Islamabad, and now they say he’s escaped. It comes at a time when the British Government is trying to extradite him. It all looks very suspicious to me, the report quoted Habib, as saying.

Meanwhile, police in Pakistan have launched a massive operation to arrest the alleged terrorist mastermind behind last year’s al-Qa’ida plot.

On Saturday, Rauf, a dual citizen of Britain and Pakistan, escaped from the custody of Pakistan Police when he was brought before a judge at a court in Islamabad for an extradition hearing.

When Musharraf was announcing the withdrawal of emergency, a senior government official was expressing bewilderment at the ease with which Rauf escaped.

We are making every possible effort to re-arrest Rauf, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Islamabad police chief Shahid Nadeem Baluch said: The hunt is on to track him down. We have conducted some raids but so far there hasn’t been any breakthrough.

Rauf was detained under 3 MPO and police treated him as a normal accused.

According to the British media reports, the Pakistani and United Kingdom authorities were trying to swap Rauf for two Baloch Liberation Army members recently detained in London. (ANI)

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