Pakistan probes ‘$100 ID cards for militants’ scam

Pakistan probes ‘$100 ID cards for militants’ scam. Karachi: Pakistani authorities are investigating officials at the national identity database for allegedly issuing ID cards to militants, including some linked to Al Qaeda, in return for bribes as much as $100.

The country’s main spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) uncovered the alleged corrupt practices at the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) during ongoing anti-terrorism operations, according to official documents.

 Pakistan probes ‘$100 ID cards for militants’ scam

“It has been found that many NADRA officials are involved in facilitating miscreants and terrorists in obtaining fake identity,” said ISI correspondence seen by AFP.

Adnan El Shukrijumah, a senior Al Qaeda leader wanted by the US over a 2009 plot to attack the New York subway system, was among those who obtained a Pakistani ID card by bribing officials, the documents said.

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Shukrijumah, who was born in Saudi Arabia and spent some years in the United States, was killed in December 2014 during a Pakistan army operation in South Waziristan tribal area close to Afghanistan.

Pakistan probes '$100 ID cards for militants' scam

A Pakistani man watches a television broadcasting news of top Al Qaeda leader Adnan El Shukrijumah, in Islamabad on December 6, 2014. Pakistan’s military said it had killed Shukrijumah, a senior Al-Qaeda leader wanted by the US over a 2009 plot to attack the New York subway system. Shukrijumah, one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, was hiding in a compound in Shinwarsak, northwestern Pakistan, after fleeing from neighbouring North Waziristan tribal district where the army launched a major operation against militant bases in June, the military said. AFP

The ISI investigation also found that three Uzbek nationals who were arrested in Qatar for robbing a bank also carried Pakistani identity papers.
Several dozen Chinese nationals and Maldivians were also issued Pakistani ID cards, with NADRA officials taking bribes of Rs10,000 to 20,000 ($100-200) in return. The intelligence probe has named about 40 NADRA officials involved in issuing the fake paperwork in Karachi, including a retired army brigadier and a retired colonel.
In its own investigation into the racket, the Federal Investigation Agency found more than 50,000 national identity cards had been issued to illegal immigrants, most of them Afghans.
Last year Pakistan launched a major crackdown on militants after suffering more than a decade of bomb and gun attacks by homegrown extremists. A military offensive against Taliban and A -Qaeda hideouts in the northwest has been accompanied by what the authorities have called “intelligence-led” operations in cities around the country.
Pakistani officials said on Wednesday they killed an intelligence officer and two alleged operatives of Al Qaeda’s South Asian chapter in a shootout in the southern city of Karachi.
The clash followed a raid early Tuesday on an apartment in Gulhsan-e-Iqbal, a middle class residential neighbourhood in the city’s east, a spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers said.
“On seeing Rangers, (the) terrorists opened fire, the Rangers troops fired back and after an exchange of fire two terrorists got killed,” the spokesman said.
One intelligence officer was also killed while a soldier sustained wounds, the Rangers said.
The men were identified as Abdul Ahad and Mohammad Sauleh, said to be Al Qaeda’s chief in the city and his assistant, respectively. Little was known of the two men before their deaths and analysts believe security forces often exaggerate the seniority of militants they kill in encounters. A security official who did not wish to be named said that some relatives of Ahad were also detained in the same neighbourhood.
Al Qaeda’s South Asian branch was set up last year in what was widely seen as a response to the growing appeal of the IS group in the region.
Karachi, a port city of some 20 million and Pakistan’s economic hub, is frequently hit by extremist, political and ethnic violence. Paramilitaries began a sweeping crackdown on alleged militants in the city in 2013 that has led to substantial drop in overall levels of violence. But rights groups have accused police and paramilitary troops of carrying out extrajudicial killings in staged gunfights.

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