Canadian Arab family claims Pakistan holding relatives
Dec 30, 2003 - AFP
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - The Canadian family of two people missing since a
swoop against al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan have filed a law suit here
to find out whether their relatives are still alive, their lawyer
Ahmed Saeed Khadr and his 14-year-old son went missing in Pakistan's
northwestern tribal belt in early October, their lawyer Hashmat Ali
"It is not clear whether Ahmed Saeed Khadr and his son Abdul Karim,
both Canadian Arab Muslims doing charity work in South Waziristan
were killed or arrested by authorities in an operation," Habib told a
press conference at his home.
Habib said there had been newspaper reports that Ahmed had been
arrested and his son killed but the family had no information on
Eight people were killed when Pakistan army commandos besieged a
suspected al-Qaeda hideout in mud-walled tribal homes in the South
Waziristan district bordering Afghanistan (news - web sites) on
Two Pakistani troops were killed and two wounded in the day-long
gunfight at Angoor Adda, five kilometers (three miles) from the
Afghan border. Eighteen people were arrested in the operation.
Habib said he had filed the petition with the Supreme Court on behalf
of Ahmed's wife Maha Elsamna and daughter Zaynab Khadr requesting
that the women be allowed to meet their missing family members if
they were being held so they could arrange legal assistance.
In an unusual incident, the press conference was interrupted by a
local administration official who with a police contingent and
plainclothes cops began removing microphones and documents and
announced the press conference was over.
"I have been sent by higher authorities to stop this press
conference," Islamabad district administration official Asadullah
Faiz told reporters who protested he had no right to do so.
"We have secret information that there is some relation with al-
Qaeda," Faiz said.
"This family and some other people living with the family have very
close relations with al-Qaeda," Faiz told annoyed reporters.
Faiz told the lawyer that he was also considered an al-Qaeda suspect.
"According to our information you are suspected," Faiz told Habib
when he protested.
Ahmad's daughter Zaynab denied any links to terrorist organisations,
saying the family had been running a non-governmental organisation
partly funded by the UN to help the poor and destitute of Afghanistan
But she said the Canadian Embassy in Islamabad had withheld the
family's passports for the past year without giving any reason. The
embassy could not immediately be contacted to confirm her statement.
"We cannot go back to Canada to meet the rest of our family there,"
She said the female members of the family had escaped to Islamabad
after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001. Since then
they had lived a life in near hiding, helped by local people who
offered them shelter, food and money.
She said her father had previously been falsely arrested in Pakistan.
An official who asked to remain anonymous said Ahmed had been
arrested in connection with 1995 bomb blast at the Egyptian Embassy
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