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FBI’s most-wanted has a Lahore clone

Lahore, Jan. 2 (Reuters): A Pakistani jeweller fears he could be rounded up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because he closely resembles a man wanted by the FBI in the US-led war on terror.

The FBI has posted pictures of five people on its website (www.fbi.gov) under a heading of “Seeking Information, War on Terrorism”. The FBI said the five were thought to have entered the US illegally. It cautioned that the names and ages of the men could be fictitious. CNN reported that the men were thought to have entered the US from Canada.

Mohammad Asghar, 36, who shares a jewellery shop with two brothers in the Lahore, said today he resembled one of the named suspects — Mustafa Khan Owasi, 33 — but had never been to the US or Canada.

“Initially I thought that this resemblance was a mere chance, but when some friends pointed out its seriousness then I started worrying about it,” Asghar said, as hundreds of people thronged his shop in Lahore’s narrow lanes out of curiosity stirred by his predicament. “After more and more people started coming in, I fear I could become the victim of the FBI,” he added.

The visibly distraught Asghar, with dark features, prominent eyebrows and a distinctive mole on his left cheek, looked the spitting image of the portrait posted on the FBI’s website.

A US embassy spokesman in Islamabad said that the FBI had been made aware of the case and was investigating.

The FBI said the five suspects were thought to have entered the US illegally on or about December 24. Asghar said at that time he was in Lahore.

Pakistan is a key ally in the US war on terror and FBI agents, working with local security agencies, have helped arrest several suspected members of the al Qaida network that is blamed for the September 11, 2001, attacks. Asghar said he attempted to travel to Britain about two months ago but was deported to Pakistan from Abu Dhabi after travel documents he collected in Abu Dhabi for his onward journey turned out to be fake.

He had arranged the documents through a Pakistani company offering visa support. The Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency seized the documents when he returned to Pakistan, Asghar said.

Asghar said his father was seeking legal advice about the publication of the picture.

US donation

The US donated 300 vehicles to Pakistan today to patrol the border with Afghanistan that is the focus of the hunt for al Qaida and Taliban remnants.

“We believe that this equipment can play a real role... in making the lives of Pakistanis and Americans living in Pakistan easier and also in issues like narcotics, terrorism, smuggling and crime,” US ambassador to Pakistan Nancy Powell said, as she presented the vehicles to Pakistani forces guarding the frontier with Afghanistan.

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