A Pakistani court on Monday directed the government not to deport five American Muslim youths, arrested on suspicion of terror links, to the United States or any other country.
Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif of the Lahore high court issued the order in response to a petition filed by former Inter Services Intelligence agency official Khalid Khwaja.
The five youths -- Waqar Hussain Khan (22), Omar Farooq (24), Ahmed Abdullah Minni (20), Ramy S Zamzam (22) and Iman Hassan Yemer (17) -- wanted to travel to Afghanistan to fight the US-led forces, but were arrested by the Pakistani police last week in Sargodha in Punjab province.
In his petition, Khwaja said the five youths should be tried under Pakistani laws. He claimed the government might hand them over to the US or some other country as they had not been produced before a judge even five days after their arrest.
Chief Justice Khwaja issued notices to the federal and Punjab governments, directing them to provide by December 17 the details of the investigation conducted against the five youths.
The father of one of the youths, also a US national, was arrested along with them. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said they can be deported only after Pakistani authorities verify that they have not violated any local laws.