Zimbabwe detains 2 Pakistani men; 1 suspected of links to 2008 Mumbai, India terror attacks

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe has arrested two Pakistani men for using fake passports, police said Saturday, and state media said one man is potentially linked to the November 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The men were picked up in the southern border town of Beitbridge on June 20, where they were alleged to have been trying to use fake passports to enter South Africa, which is hosting this year's World Cup soccer tournament.

Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported that suspect Imran Muhammad, 33, was wanted in Pakistan for alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead. The second man was identified as Chaudry Parvez Ahmed.

Zimbabwean police said they have contacted Pakistan's security agencies and Interpol for information. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena declined to give further information on the arrests.

"We are talking to Interpol and we are waiting for some information from the Pakistani security agencies," he said.

Pakistani officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

South African Police spokesman Vish Naidoo told The Associated Press that authorities did not suspect the two men of terrorism or of plotting threats to the World Cup.

"At this stage there's nothing to suggest anything else other than that they are illegal immigrants or suspected to be illegal immigrants," he said.

Naidoo said South African authorities had been informed through a regional security forum set up for the World Cup.

Asked whether South African police continue to maintain they have no evidence of a specific terror threat to the World Cup, Naidoo said: "Absolutely."

The November 2008 attacks in Mumbai killed 166 people, dramatically heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, and added even more pressure on Pakistan to reign in militant groups on its soil.

India blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned Pakistani militant outfit, for the attacks.

Pakistan has arrested at least seven people in connection with the attacks and they are facing trial.

In May, an Indian court had sentenced the only surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks to death. Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani, was one of 10 men who attacked two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station in Mumbai. Millions around the world watched the mayhem unfold live on television.


Associated Press writer Donna Bryson in Johannesburg contributed to this report.