Pakistan on Monday ordered an investigation into a ‘visa scam’ aimed at facilitating access to the London Olympics as part of the country’s Olympic squad. Unveiled by the British tabloid The Sun, the report “Olympic ‘terror visas’ racket” claimed that terrorists could have accessed the Games with these doctored travel documents.
The investigation team includes officials from the Inter Services Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Intelligence Bureau and National Database Registration Authority (NADRA). The team has been asked to submit its report within three days.
According to the tabloid, its reporters infiltrated a crime ring offering false passports, visas and access to London 2012 as bogus support staff. “We uncovered a ring of corrupt Pakistani officials and travel staff conspiring with a prominent politician to bypass stringent security. First they provided our undercover investigator with a genuine Pakistani passport in a false name. Then leading Lahore politician Abid Chodhary spelled out how for around 7,000 pounds he could get our man a two-month visa and smuggle him into London 2012 as part of Pakistan’s Olympic squad.”
The Sun also secretly filmed Mr. Chodhary as he explained his modus operandi. Though there is a television grab of Mr. Chodhary, there was considerable amount of confusion in Pakistan about his credentials. There was no clarity on his party affiliation and no details were available about his background.
Along with a travel agency — which was allegedly involved a decade back in a case of human trafficking — the politician is reported to have arranged fake passports, travel documents, a two-month U.K. visa and a letter from the Pakistan Sports Board attesting that the bearer was a part of the country’s Olympic support staff.
Besides the politician and employees of NADRA— which makes the national identity card — and the Sports Board, the ring would have included people in the British High Commission’s visa set-up. Whether anyone has travelled into the U.K. on these documents is unclear though reports coming from London suggested that they would not have cleared British immigration authorities equipped with the wherewithal to detect forged documents.