Pakistani Man Linked to Shahzad Faces Deportation

Betwa Sharma/New York
Pakistani Man Linked to Shahzad Faces Deportation
A 43-year-old taxi driver from Pakistan under detention on immigration charges and believed to have given money to Times Square Pakistani-American terror suspect Faisal Shahzad is facing deportation.

He was arrested May 13, along with his cousin, Aftab Khan, 27, on immigration charges. On Monday, a federal immigration judge ruled that Pir Khan has been in the US illegally since 1991 but put off a decision on the deportation until August, according to the Boston Globe.

Khan's lawyer argued that his client should be allowed to stay because he has been an upstanding citizen since his arrival in the US and his American wife will face "extreme personal hardship" if he is returned to Pakistan, the Globe reported.

Khan was arrested in May along with two other Pakistanis on suspicion of providing funds to Shahzad, an American citizen from Pakistan, who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on May 1.

It now appears that the men did not know how the money would be used and none of them face criminal charges in connection with the terror plot.

A third man, Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, a 33-year-old computer programmer from South Portland, Maine, was also arrested. Shahzad was apprehended 53 hours later at John F Kennedy airport trying to escape to Dubai.

He is believed to have been working in collusion with the Pakistan-Taliban.

"There is no evidence against my client to show he had any connection to the Times Square bombing," Saher Macarius, who represents Khan, told reporters after the hearing, the Globe reported.

"If he leaves, his wife will face extreme and unusual hardship. They didn't know the guy at all," Macarius said, speaking for both Pir and Aftab.

"I believe that the government was trying to find any connection found nothing, and they handed my clients back to immigration."

Aftab had Shahzad's phone number on his cell phone and an envelop with Shahzad’s name on it in his apartment. He also faced immigration charges and federal judge ordered him deported last week.

During Khan's initial appearance in court last month, Richard D Neville, deputy chief counsel for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston, said it appeared that Pir Khan had two wives, according to the Globe.

The authorities noted that Khan had declared he had a wife and child in Pakistan on documents filed in 1994, when he was seeking political asylum in the United States.

A hearing officer rejected Khan’s bid for asylum in 2007, and he was in the process of appealing that when he married Rebecca May Barry.

But Macarius said Khan told him he had never legally married the woman in Pakistan, who died in 2001, the Globe reported.

The federal immigration judge, Matthew J D'Angelo, has allowed Khan to present his case to fight the deportation on August 10 in Boston.
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