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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
'Russian plotter' passport probe
By Zulfikar Ali
BBC News, Muzaffarabad

Passport for Akhlas Akhlaq
Akhlas Akhlaq's father says his documents show his innocence
Russia is seeking consular access to a man who Pakistan has sentenced to death for allegedly plotting to kill President Pervez Musharraf.

The request to meet Akhlas Ahmed Akhlaq who carries a Russian passport was made last week, Russian press attache Oleg Dzhuraev in Islamabad told the BBC.

"We have not been granted permission so far," Mr Dzhuraev said.

Akhlas Akhlaq is one of eight men given the death sentence for the December 2003 attempts on the president's life.

'Shocked'

"We have requested the government of Pakistan to assist officers of the embassy to meet the gentleman whenever and wherever is possible," Mr Dzhuraev said.

DEATH SENTENCES
Arshad Mehmood
Zubair Ahmed
Rashid Quereshi
Ghulam Sarwar
Akhlas Akhlaq

He said the purpose of the meeting was to ascertain if the convict was indeed a Russian citizen by the name of Akhlas Ahmed Akhlaq or someone else "who is simply using his passport".

He said if he was a Russian citizen, then he "would not be left on his own".

"We made the request on our own initiative as we were never officially informed by the government of Pakistan about his arrest," he said.

The Russian embassy in Islamabad came to know about his arrest and conviction through the BBC, he said.

"We were shocked and surprised when we came to know about the conviction because no one had informed us."

'Genuine passport'

Mr Dzhuraev said they were able to confirm that the passport reportedly held by the convict had indeed been issued by the Russian authorities.

"It is a genuine passport," he said.

Russian officials met Mr Akhlas's mother in Volgograd who said that her son had left Russia in 2001 and that they had not heard from him since.

Mr Akhlas's Kashmiri father had also met diplomats in the Russian embassy and provided them a copy of the passport and the birth certificate of his son.

Mr Dzhuraev said the father wanted the embassy to intervene in the matter.





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