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Shahzad's father, 4 others grilled in Pakistan

Source: PTI
May 06, 2010 23:32 IST
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US and Pakistani investigators have questioned Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad's father and four men suspected of having links with the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed in connection with the botched terrorist attack.

A joint US-Pakistani investigation team questioned Shahzad's father, Air Vice Marshal (retired) Baharul Haq in the northwestern city of Peshawar, a Pakistani intelligence official was quoted as saying by CNN.

Four men suspected of having links to the JeM are also being interrogated by a high-level US-Pakistani investigation team, a Pakistani intelligence official said.

There was no official word on the detention or questioning of the suspects. During the weekly news briefing at the Foreign Office, spokesman Abdul Basit repeated Interior Minister Rehman Malik's remarks that nobody had been detained or arrested for alleged links with Shahzad.

Shahzad's father-in-law Iftikhar Mian, his friend Tausif Ahmed and an associate named Sheikh Muhammad Rehan were detained in Karachi on Tuesday, reports said. Rehan was picked up from a mosque known for its links with the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

A senior unnamed Pakistani official in Islamabad was quoted by CNN as saying that Rehan was instrumental in facilitating a meeting between Shahzad and at least one senior Taliban official.

On July 7 last year, Rehan drove Shahzad to Peshawar, the official said. They headed to the Waziristan tribal region, where they met one or more senior Taliban leaders, the official said.

The official also said Rehan is believed to have links to JeM, which is close to Al Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban.

Several officials in Karachi were quoted by CNN as saying that others were taken into custody for questioning yesterday but that they could not say how many were detained, who they were or where they were seized.

An official familiar with the investigation said Shahzad may have attempted to carry out the bombing as he felt Islam was under attack.

Any grudge Shahzad may have held against the US appears to have developed recently, said a senior US official familiar with the investigation.

Shahzad, 30, a naturalised US citizen from Pakistan, admitted that he drove a SUV into New York City's Times Square last weekend and attempted to detonate the vehicle, which was packed with gasoline, propane tanks, fireworks and non-explosive fertiliser.

A complaint filed by the FBI in a US court said Shahzad had received bomb-making training in Waziristan.

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