ISLAMABAD: The arrest of a terrorist has foiled a plot to carry out an attack during the World Cup, according to Interpol Chief Ronald Noble.
Addressing a press conference, along with Interior Minister Rehman Malik, here on Thursday, he said: “Last week, with the help of Pakistan, we identified and arrested the terrorist who had left Karachi. Thanks to the cooperation of Pakistan and other countries we were able to make sure that the World Cup remains safe.”
He did not say anything about the identity of the terrorist or the place where he was arrested.
Mr Malik told newsmen that there was a “serious attempt” of a terror attack during the tournament. He did not reveal the nationality of the suspected terrorist, but said he had no connection with Pakistan and information about the incident was being shared with India.
He said some people were arrested but none of them was Pakistani. Mr Malik said the arrested man, who had travelled to the Maldives from Karachi, had planned to carry out acts of terrorism in Sri Lanka during World Cup matches.
The minister said there were reports that the Taliban had started their activities in India and he had warned New Delhi about it. “Let’s not forget that the terrorists have got no boundary or religion. There are several indications that the Taliban have started their activities in India,” he said.
“I am saying this on record and I have also informed India. We must work together to stop the work of terrorists,” he stressed.
Mr Malik demanded an immediate action against the fanatics involved in desecration of the Holy Quran and urged the Interpol official to play his role. “This kind of violence must stop. We would like action seen to be taken against the terrorists,” he remarked.
He assured Interpol that Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used for terrorist activity against any country and urged India and other countries to share intelligence with Pakistan before an incident took place.
He said Pakistan had been suffering a lot since 9/11 for the sake of international community. Stressed the importance of peace in the region he called for strengthening international cooperation to defeat terrorism.
The minister praised the role of the Interpol chief in tracking criminals after the Mumbai attacks and said both India and Pakistan should be thankful to him.
He said currently 17 people were under trial and this was not possible without the help of the Interpol chief.
Mr Noble said Pakistan’s request for direct access to database in all Interpol offices had been accepted and work on installing work stations in Pakistan was in progress.
Mr Malik handed over a booklet containing particulars of ‘most wanted terrorists’ and sought Interpol’s help in tracking them down.
Agencies add: Mr Noble said Interpol would provide two million Euros for capacity building of 38 centres of the Federal Investigation Agency across Pakistan.
He appreciated what he called strong role of Islamabad in the global war against terrorism and said Pakistan was among the best countries that were cooperating with Interpol.
He said the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war on terror were eternal and of paramount importance.
He said terrorists were present elsewhere in the world and moved from one place to another.
Mr Noble said Pakistan had done a great job by providing Interpol the list of most wanted persons.
Mr Malik said peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan would guarantee peace in the rest of the world. “Pakistan must be treated as victim (of terrorism) and it needs moral support.”
He stressed the need for imparting training to Pakistan security agencies by Interpol to effectively cope with terrorism and extremism.
Mr Noble said: “Thanks to the cooperation of your country and other countries, we were able to make sure that the World Cup remains safe.”
Neither he nor Mr Malik, gave further details.
Earlier this month, India issued an alert over a possible attack on the hugely popular tournament being played until April 2 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.