Around 100 suspects have been arrested in Pakistan over the Olympic visa racket exposed by The Sun — but several ringleaders are on the run. Investigators yesterday said they feared passport officials at the centre of the racket had links to potential terrorists and may have given them bogus travel documents to get into the UK. Mohammad Anwar Virk, head of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, said: “We have arrested dozens of suspects and will interrogate them to get access to the mafia leaders. There are hints some of the accused might be affiliated with terror groups. The main aim is to find terror contacts. It will be a bigger issue than it is now if terror links are found.
“We are investigating the terror links and the human smuggling aspect.” Abid Chodhary, the politician who offered a Sun undercover man a dodgy visa plus a letter confirming he was part of Pakistan’s Olympic entourage for £7,000, has vanished from his home. Staff at the Dream Land travel agency, who put The Sun in touch with corrupt passport officials, have also fled.
Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service said: “We have arrested around 100 people.
“We are also getting the details of all Pakistanis who travelled to the UK in recent weeks and will interrogate suspects among them. Intelligence at airports has also been enhanced to make sure no suspect gets a flight.” The Sun told on Monday how we paid a “fixer” £600 for a genuine Pakistan passport in a false name.
Embarrassed Pakistan officials also rang Downing Street yesterday to confirm they are doing all they can to find the gang ringleaders. A dozen Pakistan passport officials were suspended yesterday and others were taken into custody. Those suspended include the general manager of the Lahore passport office which arranged for an undercover Sun investigator to obtain bogus travel documents for £600.
And senior politician Abid Chodhary, who offered our man a UK visa plus a letter confirming he was part of Pakistan’s Olympic entourage for £7,000, has been banned from leaving the country. The Dream Land travel agency in Lahore, whose staff put The Sun in touch with corrupt officials, was closed yesterday. Arrests are expected soon. Mr Malik said he had personally contacted the British authorities to assure them no terrorists would be allowed to slip into London 2012.
He added: “We love the Olympics and will never allow anyone to sabotage them.” Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service confirmed the racket could have been used by potential terrorists. A spokesman said: “The ISI had reports earlier that the Olympics could be used to send terrorists into UK and Europe but we had made a fool-proof plan to stop this.
“There has been an activity of the militants for the last few months and we have intercepted calls in which militants are discussing Olympics as a tool to get into UK. We have taken people into custody and are interrogating them. The men can give us a clue if they are connected with militant outfits or were just trying to make it to the UK.”
David Cameron said he had every faith in London 2012’s security. His spokesman said: “We are confident that we have the checks in place and the arrangements in place to deal with these issues.” Downing Street said British agents are in Pakistan working with authorities there. The suspended staff are from the NADRA passport centres in Lahore and Islamabad. Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said: “We’re grateful to The Sun.”