Islamabad/Lahore: A group of US nationals
arrested in Pakistan over alleged terrorist links will not be
deported until security agencies verify that they had not
violated local laws, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said
"We will first see which laws they have violated. Once
our law enforcement agencies or courts clear (the detained
men), only then will we deport them," Malik told a news
Malik said the detained persons will be dealt with
according to Pakistani laws. The government currently has no
plans to deport them, he indicated.
Though Malik told the news conference that five
American men were in the custody of Pakistani police, US
embassy spokesman Rick Snelsire said a total of six US
nationals had been detained in the eastern city of Sargodha,
located nearly 200 km from Islamabad.
A US consular officer had been granted access to the
detained persons and a FBI team had also questioned them,
Pakistani police officials have said five of the
detained US nationals, all Muslims in their twenties, wanted
to go to Afghanistan to fight the US-led forces.
They tried unsuccessfully to link up with the banned
Jaish-e-Mohammed in the southern city of Hyderabad and the
Jamaat-ud-Dawah in Lahore but both groups reportedly turned
them away, sources said.
Sources also said preliminary investigations had
indicated the youths were also in contact with some al-Qaeda
operatives in Afghanistan.