A suspected member of the Al Qaeda terrorist group was denied entry to the country by Bureau of Immigration (BI) authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said Muhammad Arif, 43, a Pakistani national was intercepted on Saturday at the NAIA 1 terminal upon his arrival aboard a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.
He explained that the foreigner was denied entry upon confirming that he is in the BI database of blacklisted aliens and suspected foreign terrorists and in the Interpol’s database of “Al Qaeda Sanction List” of individuals.
Arif was immediately turned back and booked on the first available flight to his point of origin.
“We were informed that his purpose in coming here was doubtful because he could not pinpoint the places that he wanted to visit. He also could not tell why he was traveling alone,” Morente said.
The BI chief added, “Our immigration officers had no choice but to exclude him for posing a threat to our national security and risk to public safety.”
At the same time, the BI database showed the Pakistani was the subject of a blacklist order issued by then BI chief Ricardo David Jr. in Sept. 2011, also for being an alleged Al Qaeda member.
During the interview with immigration supervisor, Arif claimed he owns the Dawn pharmaceuticals store in Islamabad and is a distributor of Novartis Pharmaceutical Company.
He added that he intends to have a vacation in the Philippines and will stay for four days at the Malayan Plaza Hotel in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
Immigration authorities also noticed a resemblance between the passenger’s passport picture and the photographs of a Muhammad Arif stored in the Interpol database.
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