A British man identified by Pakistan as a key suspect in the alleged plane terror plot has links with outlawed Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed and is related by marriage to its leader, an intelligence official and a relative said.
Rashid Rauf, arrested in Pakistan last week in connection with the alleged conspiracy to blow up US-bound planes, left the group about two years ago and forged ties with al-Qaida militants, the intelligence official said today.
In Bhawalpur, an eastern Pakistani stronghold of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a man claiming to be Rauf’s brother-in-law said police detained the terror suspect as he tried to leave the town on a bus to the nearby city of Multan on August 9, two days before suspects were arrested in the UK.
The town lies about 310 miles south-west of Islamabad. Rauf, a British national of Pakistani descent in his 30s, had also been in contact, through intermediaries, with the purported number-three-ranked al-Qaida leader at large in neighbouring Afghanistan, and had met al-Qaida figures inside Pakistan in the lead-up to his arrest, intelligence officials said.