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10 August 2005
ISLAMABAD - Pakistani security officials shifted an alleged al-Qaeda operative to Islamabad Wednesday for questioning, four days after his arrest in the central city of Faisalabad, an intelligence official said.
"Osama bin Yousaf is being quizzed for his alleged links with al-Qaeda during the interrogation, being carried out at an unknown location," the official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur in Islamabad.
He said the officials have yet to determine if Yousaf, who was running a Public Call Office (PCO) with the name of 'Osama PCO' for at least two years in Faisalabad, had any links with al-Qaeda.
The man (Yousaf), whose actual name is Faisal and who is an ex-activist of a banned extremist outfit, had set up his PCO after apparently getting out of militant circles, the official said.
Yousaf also had a computer which he was using as an internet cafe in the middle of one of the main markets in Faisalabad, the official added.
"Yousaf is an ex-Lashkare Jhangvi (L.J.) member, but nothing showed so far that he had anything to do with al-Qaeda," he said.
The rabidly anti-Shiite Lashkare Jhangvi was an offshoot of another radical Sunni Moslem organisation called the Sipahe Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).
Scores of Lashkare Jhangvi activists wanted by the Pakistani government on criminal charges had used Afghanistan during the Taleban regime as their sanctuary before teaming up with al-Qaeda after the rout of the radical Islamist militia in late 2001.
The latest arrest is part of the recent crackdown that President General Pervez Musharraf had ordered last month to arrest extremist militants.
Also on Tuesday, Pakistan's information minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad described Yousaf as a very insignificant, low ranking member of the L.J.
While media reports suggested that maps of Italy, Germany, Pakistan and Britain were also recovered from Yousaf, the chief of the country's crisis management cell, Javed Iqbal Cheema, categorically denied the reports.
"These reports are totally rubbish, as the security forces did not recover any maps or any other items of this sort," Cheema said.
Yousaf was arrested after the American Cellular Call Tracking System (CCTS) installed at several locations countrywide traced his phone call to Peshawar on Sunday.
Most phone calls from within Pakistan are monitored through the CCTS, which the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) installed in the country as part of the war on terror in Afghanistan.
Subject: German news
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