Ordeal of Pakistani-American Family Ends

Denver: Four years after the FBI accused his relatives of having terrorist ties, a naturalized US citizen from Pakistan said he still considers the United States the best country in the world.
“I love this country. I would die for this country,” said Abdul Qayyum. Last Wednesday, US District Judge Lewis Babcock accepted plea deals that dropped and reduced immigration charges against Qayyum and his family. The FBI alleged they had ties to terrorism, but no charges related to terrorism were ever filed.
In the meantime, Qayyum, his daughter Saima, wife Chris Warren, and nephew Irfan Kamran were accused of conspiring to keep Kamran in the country illegally. Qayyum was accused of saying Kamran was his son so Kamran could enter the country.
In plea deals finalized last Wednesday, Qayyum pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agent and was sentenced to a year of probation. Kamran pleaded guilty to a petty offense.
All charges were dropped against Warren and Saima. Charges also were dropped against Haroon Rashid, Saima’s husband, who has been jailed for more than two years. He faces deportation after an assault on someone who hassled his family, but the deportation is on hold pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
FBI documents that were discussed during a court hearing in 2003 accused Rashid of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan during a visit to his family’s home near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, shortly after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Qayyum said the family closed its restaurant. When his parents died, he could not attend their funerals. “Sometimes these things take too long,” Babcock said. “This is one of those cases where it just took time to get it right.”
Jeff Dorschner, US attorney’s office spokesman, said the case was handled fairly. He said the government considers immigration violations especially serious and is obligated to prosecute when someone lies to a federal official. “Although it was a long process, it was a fair and just result,” he said.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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