ISLAMABAD: The United Kingdom has no evidence of anyone travelling to Britain on a fake passport as part of Pakistan’s Olympic squad, said British High Commissioner Adam Thomson on Thursday.
Talking to newsmen during a visit to the National Press Club, Mr Thomson said that inclusion of unrelated persons in an Olympic squad was impossible because the accreditation process had been completed months before start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A few days ago a British tabloid, The Sun, claimed to have unearthed a ‘UK visa scam’, but the high commissioner said it was not possible for anyone to sneak into an Olympic squad through illegal means. When asked whether Britain trusted the process through which Pakistan issued passports, he said: “Britain is satisfied with Pakistan’s visa and passport issuance mechanisms”.
He said no visa and passport system in the world was perfect. “There may be occasional slippages.”
Mr Thomson praised the Nadra system, but said mistakes could be made.
He revealed that about 4,000 people were caught last year while trying to acquire the British passport through fake documents. Pakistan was a ‘global leader’ vis-a-vis fake passports and fake visas.
Answering a question, Mr Thomson said The Sun might have some proof and that the allegations were still being investigated.
He said the information regarding the scandal had been discussed with the Pakistani authorities.
The high commissioner said that uncovering of such scams was not about defaming an entire country. These (scandals) were individual acts which could happen in any country.
Talking about the Olympics, Mr Thomson said that over one billion viewers across the world would watch live the opening ceremony of the London games on Friday.
Important personalities, including heads of state from over 80 countries, would attend the ceremony. One million people were expected to visit London to watch the games.
He said the UK would earn 80 billion pounds from the games.
The high commissioner expressed concern over the number of Pakistanis seeking asylum in the UK and said he had raised the issue during a meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
Answering a question about acquiring a British passport, Mr Thomson said Pakistanis should not seek help of unauthorised agents. “The system in place is very simple and the British high commission can be contacted for assistance,” he said.
The Pakistani hockey team has been placed in the same group as the British team for the preliminary round of the tournament.
“It will be wonderful to watch British, Pakistani and other international players set world records and bring home gold medals,” Mr Thomson said.