LAHORE: After obtaining red warrants for the owner of a visa consultancy and his wife, the Federal Investigation Agency has written to the British National Crime Agency for arrest of the couple and their extradition to a third country.
The FIA has also written to the interior ministry to announce Rs5 million reward for anybody helping in their arrest.
Asim Malik and his wife Zobia Rubab – owners of Future Concerns Ltd -- had allegedly defrauded a large number of Pakistanis on the pretext of securing immigration and visas for the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries.
The couple made millions of dollars and fled to the UK, allegedly with the help of a minister of the previous government.
“We have written to the Nation Crime Agency (NCA) for the arrest of Asim Malik and his wife and their handing over to a third country. The couple will be deported to Pakistan from there as there has been no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK,” FIA Director (Lahore region) Dr Usman Anwar told Dawn.
The couple had chosen to flee to UK, thinking they would be out of reach of Pakistani authorities there because of legal complications in their deportation.
“The couple cannot escape the arrest after the FIA’s effort to get their red warrants issued from the Interpol and coordination with the NCA,” Dr Anwar said, adding the NCA chief was expected to visit Pakistan next week and this issue would be discussed with him. “We have also written to all foreign missions in this regard and we are optimistic that the couple will be arrested soon,” the FIA director said, adding the federal agency had also traced property of Asim Malik in Lahore and Bhera.
Official sources said Malik, in connivance with some FIA officials and the people at the helm, had been fleecing those aspiring to go abroad on different types of visas for the last 10 years or so.
“Asim Malik was first booked by the FIA about a decade ago for defrauding people but he got away by managing to clear all legal hurdles,” a source said. Had he been sent behind bars, a large number of people would have been saved from the fraud.
The FIA is presently dealing with about 200 complaints against the couple.
“Asim Malik trapped me after securing a UK student-visa for my son. He told me that he could manage the UK immigration for my whole family and charged a huge amount from me,” a complainant told Dawn requesting anonymity. He said that he had filed a complaint against Malik but to no avail.
It was surprising to note that many former bureaucrats, army men and businessmen are among those defrauded by the Future Concerns.
Dr Usman Anwar said that alarmed by the scam the FIA had launched investigations into the affairs of other immigration consultancies in Lahore and elsewhere to check whether they were operating legally.
“We have arrested the owner of Agile Consultants in Lahore for not meeting the legal requirements and charging hefty amounts from clients, promising them to send them abroad. The FIA has registered 41 cases against him,” he said.
The FIA director said such firms should ensure their registration under the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan and file income tax returns regularly.