Pakistan arrests elderly Briton in tribal belt

21st September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A 70-year-old British man has been held in a Pakistani jail for nearly a month after being arrested in the lawless tribal belt on a journey to Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

Nicholas Bain was arrested in Khyber, one of the seven districts that makes up Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt, described by Washington as a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth.

A British High Commission spokesman: "I can confirm the arrest of a British national, Nicholas Bain, in Pakistan, on August 28."

"We're currently providing consular assistance."

Shafeer Ullah, the chief administrator of Khyber, told AFP that Bain was in jail in the northwestern city of Peshawar, after being arrested at the Takhta Baig checkpost trying to go to Afghanistan.

The checkpost is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Afghan border.

A Pakistani security official said Bain was "suspected of being a British intelligence agent" and had been travelling without the permission compulsory to all foreigners in the tribal areas.

"The elderly British man was arrested because he was travelling in the tribal area without a permit," the official said on condition of anonymity.

© 2010 AFP

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