‘Arrested Pakistani students nowhere near a college’

April 12th, 2009 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 12 (IANS) Most of the Pakistanis recently arrested in Britain on suspicion of involvement in an Easter terrorist plot had not reported at any college despite coming to this country on student visas, a newspaper reported Sunday.
“Most of them hadn’t been near a college, yet somehow they got visas,” the Sun quoted a senior police source as saying.

Eleven Pakistanis, 10 of them on student visas, were arrested Wednesday in raids on residential addresses in northwest England in connection with a bomb plot.

One of the Pakistanis, an 18 year old, has been handed over to the UK Border Agency, which handles immigration. The twelfth is reported to be a Briton.

Police were Saturday given a further week to question the 11 suspects as searches continued at 10 premises in the cities of Manchester and Liverpool.

The Sun said detectives fear an Al Qaeda cell has gathered enough materials to cause devastation in Manchester, but have been unable to locate key components despite hunts in Liverpool, Manchester and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

It named the alleged ringleader as Abid Naseer, 22, and other members of the plot as Hamza Shenwari, Sultan Sher and Abdul Wahab Khan.

Two security guards seized in Clitheroe were named locally as Johnus Khan and Umar Farooq.

It said photographs found at an address indicated targets for an alleged bomb attack included the Arndale and Trafford shopping centres, the Birdcage nightclub and St Ann’s Square in Manchester.

Two suspects arrested in Pakistan Saturday are suspected of using coded emails to pass orders from Al Qaeda chiefs to plotters in the Manchester area, the Sun said.

Meanwhile, the arrests have led to a row over the standard of immigration checks in Britain.

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas Friday insisted Britain’s security processes were world-class, but the opposition Conservative Party’s Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We desperately need proper policing of our borders but despite all the promises from this government, it simply is not happening.”

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan has said British officers in Islamabad carried out insufficient checks on foreign students.

Hasan said Pakistani authorities could help with checks on applicants but were not allowed to.

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