Wednesday, June 17, 2009

9 Pakistanis held in Jeddah for heroin smuggling

* Relatives of 7 arrested claim travel agents planted heroin

KARACHI: The Saudi Arabian police have arrested seven people in Jeddah including three couples, who went there to perform Umra and two travel agents, after recovering heroin from their possession. The families of the arrested have appealed to the Pakistani government to play its role to secure the release of their relatives, claiming that they are innocent and that the recovered heroin was in fact planted by the travel agency. As per details, the three separate couples, residents of different parts of Karachi had left the country on June 1 for performing Umra via a travel agency and were arrested at Jeddah airport as the police there recovered heroin from their possessions. The arrested include Mohammad Arif Chohan, his wife Shumaila Arif, residents of the Korangi area, Mohammad Anis, his wife Rabia Anis and his mother Zehra Mosani, residents of the Azizabad area and the third couple Iftikharul Haq and his wife Qamar-un-Nisa while another couple, who were said to be the travel agents, identified as Zubair Waris and his wife Shamim Bano were also held there. Seeking justice, the families of the arrested persons reached Jamia Banoria, SITE Town where they met with Jamia Banoria Administrator Mufti Mohammad Naeem and appealed to him to approach the government. “The victims’ families met me to ask me to approach the government and the law enforcement agencies, so that their relatives could be released, but now I am feeling uncomfortable as our government and the police high ups are not cooperating with me. I tried to contact the government and police officials on various occasions but they did not respond,” Naeem told Daily Times. “The Pakistani government and the police should play their role as even a little negligence and delay by the government can result in a huge tragedy for the arrested persons and their families.”

Naeem said that, Asad who owned the Al-Huda travel agency located at Saima Trade Tower, II Chundrigar Road and his sales and promotions officers Sarwat Hussain and his wife Shafia Khan are the real culprits who cheated the arrested couples. “We have contacted the government of Saudia Arabia but they said that the arrested people would be punished. The only way the couples can be saved from an unjust punishment is to catch the real culprits,” Naeem added. Raees Ahmed, the father of Shumaila, while talking to Daily Times claimed that travel agent Zubair and his wife have confessed to their crime. “The travel agency said that it provides Ahram and slippers to its clients so that its agents in Jeddah can easily identify them on their arrival,” Ahmed said.

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