UK terror suspect was linked to Masood Azhar of Jaish

UK terror suspect was linked to Masood Azhar
The News, November 23, 2008
By Amir Mir

LAHORE: A high-level probe ordered by the Pakistani authorities into the 2007 dramatic escape of the British terror plot suspect Rashid Rauf from police custody had concluded that he had fled with the collusion of the police and some Jaish-e-Mohammad-linked militants while he was being transported to the Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi after a court appearance.

Rashid Rauf, who is reported to have been killed in the North Waziristan area on Friday in a US missile strike along with four other al-Qaeda-linked militants, was arrested on August 9, 2007 from a Jaish-e-Mohammad-run seminary, the Madrassa Madina, situated in the Model Town area of Bahawalpur. He was arrested a couple of days before the British crackdown and arrests of the main plotters in London. Rashid Rauf became the focus of world attention after being named by the British intelligence as the main plotter of a terrorist plan to blow up the US-bound British airliners with the help of liquid explosives. He was arrested in Pakistan after a tip-off from British anti-terrorism authorities, days before a series of August 2006 raids and arrests in Britain of eight men accused of conspiring to smuggle liquid bombs on board a series of Atlantic flights. However, almost 16 months after his arrest, Rashid escaped from the police custody under mysterious circumstances, at a time the British government had officially requested Pakistan to extradite him to London.

A subsequent inquiry into his December 15 escape dismissed claims by Rauf’s police guards that he had slipped away after being allowed to pray in a mosque. The report of the probe committee described as concocted the claim made by his two police guards that he mysteriously disappeared from the mosque. “The escape was made good in the vicinity of F-8 Markaz, the district court in Islamabad, and right after the hearing. Therefore, it is not a case of negligence, but a case of criminal collusion with the accused and facilitating him to escape. F-8 Markaz is located in the heart of Islamabad. Police constables Mohammad Tufail and Nawabzada, who were guarding Rauf, had claimed that he had slipped out of the back door of a mosque after they allowed him to offer afternoon prayers there,” stated the probe report.

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