A fortnight after security agencies alerted police on the possibility of a strike from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives, Mumbai police have directed its 89 police stations to trace and detain 72 “missing” Pakistani nationals.
These Pakistani nationals, according to an alert issued by the Special Branch – the intelligence arm of the city police – to all police stations last week, have been missing over a period of five years.
Sources told Hindustan Times that senior police inspectors have been directed to “make all-out efforts to trace the Pakistanis.”
“Many of the local addresses provided by the missing Pakistani nationals as their destinations during their visit have been found to be fictitious,” a special branch officer said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Asked how police will trace these persons if the addresses given are not correct, KL Prasad, joint commissioner of police (law and order) said: “It will not be proper to discuss operational matters.”
Sources said most of the missing Pakistanis had entered the country through two of the four International Check Posts (ICPs) — Wagah and Attari. Mumbai and New Delhi are the other two ICPs for Pakistani nationals.
Many of the missing persons had arrived in the city on the pretext of visiting relatives.
B Raman, former additional secretary to the Cabinet secretariat, said, “This definitely poses a security threat. Intentions can never be determined.”
Every Pakistani national entering the country is allowed to stay at one particular place during his/her period of stay. On reaching Mumbai, the visitors have to register with the police’s Special Branch II and inform about their departure on the expiry of their visa, which is usually of six months’ duration. “These persons are those who had registered with us on arrival but never reported after that,” the officer said. “Unless we arrest and question them, we would not know what their intentions are.”