Pakistan, Britain trade charges as 12 arrested for terror plot

April 10th, 2009 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown London, April 10 (IANS) Pakistan and Britain asked each other to “do more” to counter terrorism after British police arrested a dozen men - most of them Pakistani students - for suspected links with a major terror plot.
“We are dealing with a very big terrorist plot - we’ve been following it for some time,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Thursday.

“We know that there are links between terrorists in Britain and terrorists in Pakistan … Pakistan has got to do more to root out the terrorist elements in its country,” he added.

Brown said he plans to talk to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari “about what Pakistan can do to help us in the future.”

But Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan said it was Britain which must “do something more” as Pakistan was in the midst of a war.

“At your end you have to do something more. We’re already doing,” a senior aide to Zardari said.

“We are in the midst of a war. We are raiding people, we are arresting people, we are going after them whole hog. We have spent a lot of money out of our own budgets…and despite that we are expected to do more,” Hasan told BBC television Thursday night.

The police arrested 12 men Wednesday in raids across northwest England as part of an investigation into a suspected Al Qaeda attack in Britain. Eleven of the men are Pakistanis, including 10 students. One man is reported to be a Briton.

In 2008, 9,300 Pakistanis underwent third-level - or post-high school - studies in Britain. A total of 10,600 student visas were issued to Pakistanis in 2007.

In his comments, Hasan also blamed authorities in the British high commission in Islamabad, alleging they had failed to scrutinise the Pakistani applicants properly.

“If they (British authorities) allow us to make inquiries first, if they ask us to scrutinise people who are seeking visas, we can help them. But the thing is that they have their own regime, which must be assuring them that they are giving visas to the right people. But unfortunately in every system, howsoever foolproof it is, certain mistakes are made.”

Meanwhile, British forensics officers are continuing to conduct searches of the raided addresses in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester and Liverpool.

The British government estimates more than 70 percent of all terrorist attacks planned in Britain have a Pakistani connection.

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