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No formal arrest in Pak over Times Square plot: Malik

Pakistan has said it has not made any formal arrest in connection with the Times Square terror plot, amid reports that an "accomplice" of Faisal Shahzad, who allegedly carried out the botched bombing in New York, has been held in this country.

world Updated: May 15, 2010 14:21 IST

Pakistan has said it has not made any formal arrest in connection with the Times Square terror plot, amid reports that an "accomplice" of Faisal Shahzad, who allegedly carried out the botched bombing in New York, has been held in this country.

However, an investigation is underway into 30-year-old Shahzad's alleged links in Pakistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

"The US authorities sent us some questions regarding the issue and we are investigating the matter," he said, as the American media reported that an "accomplice" of Shahzad had been held in Pakistan.

The Washington Post said the man held in Pakistan had provided an "independent stream" of evidence linking the Pakistani-Taliban to the failed May 1 Times Square attack. It said he had also admitted to helping Shahzad to travel to the Pakistani tribal belt for bomb training.

"We are extending full support to US authorities and would also cooperate with the international community when and if needed so that terrorists can be brought to justice," Malik told reporters in Parliament on Friday.

As soon as the investigation is completed, the findings will be shared with US authorities, he said, adding that Pakistan had not made any formal arrest in connection with the botched Times Square plot.

Asked whether the government had sought any cooperation from the US for training the police force and whether such training is being imparted at the Sihala police centre, Malik said Pakistan's police needs proper training to fight terrorism.

However, the government will establish a proper training institute in this regard, he added.

Asked whether an operation against militants was underway in Kala Dhaka area, Malik said Science and Technology Minister Azam Khan Swati had made a written request to him for launching of an operation in the region as some terrorists had taken refuge there.

"Since the matter is a provincial matter, the request was sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa administration, subsequent to which the Frontier Constabulary and other forces were asked to search the area.

"There is no government control in the area. We had also some unconfirmed information regarding the presence of
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Maulana Fazlullah and his associates in the area," he said.

Malik said the government will not tolerate any individual or group that challenges its writ.

The government has come down hard on militants and the law and order situation is under control as authorities are committed to eliminating terrorism, he said.