Policeman with "links" to al-Qaeda assigned to protect VVIPs

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 2 (PTI) A police official with"established links" to al-Qaeda terror network was assigned toprotect VVIPs in the Pakistani city of Lahore "many times",according to a media report today.

The official served at the Prime Minister''s House inLahore and at the Federal Investigation Agency''s main officein Lahore, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

Intelligence officials said the official, who was notidentified, was a resident of Rawalpindi district but hadmanaged to get himself declared a domicile of Lahore districtand was recruited in Punjab Police on the basis of a forgedcertificate.

The official was assigned to protect former ChiefMinister and senior PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in thepast.

He was suspended when intelligence agenciesestablished his links with al-Qaeda. He was also detained bysecurity agencies for questioning.

The official "not only got back his job after sometime" but was assigned to the security detail of the PrimeMinister''s House in Lahore and the FIA office till Decemberlast year, the report said.

Subsequently, the FIA banned his entry into itsoffices "but surprisingly the police brass is still reluctantto take action against the police official notwithstanding hisestablished links with al-Qaeda", the report said.

The FIA''''s main office in Lahore was twice targeted byterrorists in recent years and officials keep receivingthreats of more attacks.

Questions have also been raised about the security forVVIPs after Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated bya police guard Mumtaz Qadri last month.

Qadri was included in the security details of severaltop leaders, including the Prime Minister, even though he wasremoved from the Special Branch several years ago after beingdeclared a "security risk".

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