Dawn News

Interior Minister Rehman Malik.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigative Authority (FIA) has decided to contact the Interpol for red warrants against Mohammad Ali Asad, a central character of the so-called Olympic visa scam, while also declaring him as the main accused in the case, sources told DawnNews on Monday.

The Pakistani government has registered a case against Asad for fraud, impersonation and mis-declaration, and is seeing his deportation from the United Kingdom.

The scandal came to the fore after the British tabloid “The Sun” published a report of a scam involving fake documents for travel to London, allegedly in connection with Pakistan’s Olympic contingent.

Last week, the Pakistani federal cabinet had announced it would sue the UK-based tabloid for the "fabricated" story alleging that a group of travel agents and a politician were involved in the scam, which allowed anyone to travel with the Pakistani Olympic contingent as support staff if they pay a certain amount of money.

However, an investigation conducted by the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) dismissed the claims and called its report a “fake scam.”

“There was no fraud or illegal activity done while obtaining the ID cards and passport of “the Sun Man” Mohammad Ali Asad,” a Nadra statement had said.

Sources also told DawnNews that the other main suspect in the investigation, Abid Chaudhry, appeared at the FIA office today, however he was asked to visit again on Tuesday for further investigation.

Speaking to media representatives today, Chaudhry claimed that he was innocent and that the real culprit was Mohammad Ali Asad. Chaudhry also demanded that Asad be brought to Pakistan for investigation.

On Saturday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik termed the British tabloid’s report a conspiracy against Pakistan, calling it “a pre-planned and concocted story.”

“We have full right to get him deported. This is a test case for the United Kingdom,” Malik had said. “We have been cooperating with them for years and now it is time for them to reciprocate.”

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