The Pakistani authorities have confirmed the American findings that the imams of three mosques arrested on November 15 in Boston happen to be the close relatives of the founder of the deadly Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who now heads the Jamaatul Daawa.
LAHORE: The Pakistani authorities have confirmed the American findings that the imams of three mosques arrested on November 15 in Boston happen to be the close relatives of the founder of the deadly Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who now heads the Jamaatul Daawa.
Pakistani interior ministry sources said that the three Boston-based imams — Hafiz Muhammad Hannan Hafiz Muhammad Masood and Hafiz Mohammad Hamid — are close relatives of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.
The sources said they have informed the American authorities that while Hafiz Muhammad Masood and Hafiz Hamid happen to be the real brother of Saeed, Hafiz Muhammad Hannan is his brother-in-law.
Hafiz Masood is an imam at the Islamic Centre of New England, Sharon, Massachusetts, Hannan is an imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell, Massachusetts while Hamid is an imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, Massachusetts.
According to the interior ministry sources in Islamabad, the American authorities had sought confirmation of their findings about three imams who were arrested for visa violations, before being released on a bail of $7,500 each.
The sources said the arrest of 30 people in November was part of a wide swoop carried out by the American Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency in eight states and the district of Columbia in connection with an ongoing investigation into a visa fraud scheme.
The scheme was designed to help a large number of illegal aliens, primarily from Pakistan, fraudulently obtain religious worker visas to enter or remain in the United States.
According to the findings of American Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Hafiz Masood, Haif Hamid and Hafiz Hannan came to the United States in 1988 on a student exchange visa to Boston University and studied there till 1990, but stayed on, violating his visa status.
The sources say although the three imams have been released on bail, they are still facing legal proceedings and there are chances of their being deported to Pakistan especially after their family relations with Hafiz Saeed have been confirmed.
Both Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamaatul Daawa are generally considered to be pro-Osama and an anti-US groups which have been banned by the US State Department in 2002 and 2006 respectively.