Pak detains 2 French men for alleged terror links

Lahore: Two French Muslim men have been detained by law enforcement agencies in this eastern Pakistani city for alleged links with terrorist groups in the country.

Sharafuddin, a Pakistani-born French national, and Zohaib Afzal, a French national of Moroccan origin, had arrived in Lahore about two months ago from France, sources said.

Acting on a tip-off from an intelligence agency, security personnel picked them up from the airport and shifted them to an interrogation cell, the sources said.

The French nationals wanted to go the volatile Waziristan tribal region, described by the US as a safe haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda elements, to take part in jihad, the sources said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Rao Sardar Ali Khan told PTI that police were not involved in the arrest of the French nationals.

Western media reports have said that the two French nationals were linked to Indonesian militant Umar Patek, who was arrested in northwest Pakistan in January.

Their case was apparently similar to that of five American Muslims who came to Pakistan over a year ago to join Al Qaeda elements in Waziristan to wage war against US forces in Afghanistan.

They were arrested at Sargodha in Punjab province in late 2009 and convicted and given jail terms ranging from 10 to 15 years by a court.