May 11th, 2010
08:28 PM ET

Pakistani man arrested at U.S. Embassy in Chile, officials say

A 28-year-old Pakistani man with explosives residue on his clothes was arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Chile, the State Department and Chilean national police said Tuesday.

U.S. Embassy officials in Santiago, Chile's capital, asked the man to come in for a routine consular issue and when he arrived, detectors registered the explosives residue, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday afternoon at a briefing in Washington.

"We had information, we have information on this individual," Crowley said. " We ... brought him - invited him to come to the embassy to clarify the information that we had on this individual. And as he came into the embassy, our explosive detectors went off."

Crowley declined to give further details on why the man was asked to come in to the embassy.

A senior U.S. official told CNN the man was linked to an extremist group based in the Western Hemisphere and not to a group in Pakistan.

"As far as we can tell, the origin of the activities which brought him to our attention were more of a local or regional nature than international," the official said. "He came to Chile on a student visa and while there he associated himself with a group that we have some knowledge of that was espousing extremist and anti-Western views."

The official told CNN the man was on a watch list and was being tracked for some time because he was believed to be involved with the extremist group, which the official declined to identify. The official said the association was enough to call him to the U.S. embassy in Chile to revoke his visa. U.S. officials were surprised when he tested positive for TNT.

An investigation is underway to determine what he was doing with explosives and whether he posed a threat to the United States.

Crowley identified the suspect as Muhammad Saif-ur-Rehman Khan and said he was handed over to Chilean authorities. A spokesman for the Carabineros, Chile's national police, gave the man's name as Mauhamnas Saif Ur.

The explosives residue was found on the man's clothes, the Carabinero spokesman told CNN in a telephone interview from Santiago. He declined to give his name, following Carabinero policy.

The suspect was scheduled to have a court hearing Tuesday afternoon in which he would be charged with a firearms violation, the spokesman said.

Lt. Col. Fernando Vera of the Carabineros said in a televised interview that standard procedures were followed.

"The embassy has their security procedures in place and their security measures were activated, and that required the support of our personnel," Vera said. "Our personnel is on site and, according to agreements and protocols, the individual has been in custody of the interior minister."

The suspect had been in Chile since January and was doing an internship in tourism at a Chilean hotel, said CNN Chile, CNN's partner network in the nation.

Chilean authorities searched the man's apartment in a student housing district in central Santiago, CNN Chile reported. Video showed officials in white hazmat suits carrying items out of an apartment.

A neighbor said in a televised interview that the suspect was a religious man who went to a local mosque every day. Asked whether friends visited him, the unnamed neighbor said, "No. Nobody."

The incident occurred a week after Faisal Shahzad - a Pakistani-born naturalized U.S. citizen - was arrested in connection with a failed car bombing in New York's Times Square.

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Filed under: Chile • Pakistan
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Ahmed

    I think that pakistani people should come out of denial phase. If somebody kills somebody, they think that it is not Pakistani because muslim can not kill another muslim, so it must be from other nation or religion or kafirs funded by US. This will take them down, because no correction can be carried out. Hope that Khuda gives them good sense.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mission Acomplished

    What has this guy been charged with anyway?
    "carrying explosive residue traces in his clothes"?
    "disliking America and its Freedumbs"?

    Sheesh! 😦

    (explosive residues on someone's clothes can have various perfectly legal and innocent explanations)

    May 12, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Varun

    from India ...

    If he is really a terrorist ..he must be dealt accordingly case he is not ..shd be apologized for inconvenience.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sivaram

    Pakistan, the epicenter of International Terrorism, famous for pure breed terrorists world wide should be renamed as 'Terroristan'.It is no surprise that some one from Terroristan smells of explosives. After all that is what they breathe, eat and drink.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Newsopa4

    Google INDIA AND BURNING OF CHURCHES AND MOSQUES, and see who the real terrorist and extremist are.. The main media does not cover this. Indian hypocrisy should be shown.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sivaram

    India has its own law and order problems where as in Terroristan law itself is a problem.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. faraz arif

    the disparity between this news article and the bbc's is obvious ...... the media war against pakistan has started........... just to justify what is to come......
    atleast bbc was partially unbiased to reveal the truth and reveal the accused's point of view...anyone should be ashamed to believe in what these liars (CNN FOX) tell us .....they are the ones who confirmed to us about "weopons of mass destruction" (liars) they are the real terrorists ... who are dividing people to fuel thier own agenda's and make a quick buck..... ........

    May 12, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. SM83

    All this Pakistan Zindabad, while good for your own moral, isn't going to take your country very far. Why can you not accept that increasingly,your citizens, and people are a growing concern for international security? Rather than blaming everyone else for your own problems, start by taking a long, deep look at yourselves. Stop blaming India and the US for all your problems. Every country has its own faults, and limitations, including India.

    The hallmark of a progressive society is to take stock of those problems, and act on them - not constantly whipping up theories of conspiracy and harboring an eternal "oh poor us, nobody likes us" mentality.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sivaram

    It was just a perfume Made in Pakistan.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sivaram

    Pakistanis recently arrested on terror charges are sauve, foreign educated and english speaking elite. This only shows how they are being brain washed in to doing things which they would not otherwise do in their normal sense. It is important that people behind these hypnotized individuals are tracked down and eliminated.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. ShaZ


    1.INVASION IN AFGHANISTAN – Reason: searching the plotters of 9/11 (the terrorists on board were Arab/African Nationals. Who was Afghan?)

    2.INVASION IN IRAQ – Reason: to make Iraq a better place (when was Iraq an ugly place?)

    3.INVASION IN PAKISTAN – Reason: a Pakistani-US citizen caught trying to set off a bomb at Times Square NY (That's what a person dreams to do after becoming a Qualified Accountant + MBA)

    4.INVASION IN IRAN – Reason pending...

    May 12, 2010 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. ShaZ story hasn't been solved yet in NY and another one came up!!! It seems like a perfect plan set up by the conspirators...

    May 12, 2010 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. KM

    Smart way to move, start at the lower end of the ladder in the hotel business, work your way up, get a good position in a U.S., hotel and then you have your golden opportunity. How many more are doing the same? Congratulations to the intelligence people who were tracking him and called him in to revoke his visa. The rest was frosting on the cake. The concept, howeve, is good and he is obviously not the only one who is doing it.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. CoolGuy

    @Shaz @Faraz @Ahmed etc.., how long you guys want to keep your head buried in the sand of denial ( or in each others buttt of denial). Get out and face the facts.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. siryousaf

    innocentsaif wordpress dotcom

    May 12, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
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