Arfan Bhatti is familiar to regular Gates of Vienna readers (especially Scandinavians) for his culturally enriched antics both in Norway and abroad. As we reported earlier this year, Mr. Bhatti went missing in January while on… ahem… sabbatical in Pakistan.
Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has translated the breaking news from Norway and Pakistan about Arfan Bhatti. He includes this note:
Here’s the latest on the disappearance of the ‘Norwegian’ Muslim, Arfan Bhatti, whom Gates of Vienna has written about on previous occasions.
It would of course be very nice if the information in this article turns out to be true, namely that the Norwegian authorities have provided the ISI with background info on Bhatti in order to create problems for him in Pakistan. Somehow, though, I doubt it. Besides, the Taliban is a creation of the ISI, so I don’t think that Bhatti is going to be found lying face down in some ditch with a bullet in his head in Jallah-jallah land.
It’s also funny to see Dagbladet, Bhatti’s Norwegian fan club, show such grave concern for their beloved little favourite Pakistani Jihadi.
The translated article from today’s Dagbladet:
The family has managed to get through to Bhatti’s cell phone, but the person answering wasn’t Bhatti.
“Arrested by the Pakistani intelligence service. Kept at a secret location.”
According to an article in VG, the Norwegian intelligence services have learned that the extreme Islamist Arfan Bhatti (36) has been arrested by Pakistani security services and kept at a secret location.
It is believed that Bhatti was arrested earlier this year by Pakistani security personnel somewhere on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was then taken to a prison run by the Secret Services where he is currently being detained.
Unknown person answered the phone
Last autumn Bhatti traveled to the very dangerous border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to his family, his last known area of residence was in Kohat on the border with Afghanistan. Sources close to Bhatti have earlier told Dagbladet that they fear that Bhatti had been taken by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI — The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.
Arfan Bhatti’s family has confirmed to Dagbladet that they have repeatedly attempted to get hold of him since his disappearance.
His Pakistani cell phone has been turned on from time to time, but the person answering has not been Bhatti. Shortly after getting through to his phone the person at the other end hung up. This has happened on a number of occasions since January.
Bhatti’s family has interpreted this as a sign that he has been arrested and held by the intelligence services in Pakistan.
“Has been informed about his past”
Norwegian authorities have not been in direct contact with Bhatti following his arrest, and the 36-year-old has not appeared before any civil courts, according to VG.
“No one from his family or me as his lawyer has heard anything from him, Norwegian or Pakistani authorities since January 4. He has been missing since then. I presume that the Foreign Ministry are doing everything in their power to locate him,” says John Christian Elden, a partner at the law firm Elden, and Bhatti’s lawyer, to Dagbladet.
According to Bhatti’s Islamist contacts in Pakistan, the Norwegian security agencies have provided the Pakistani intelligence services with detailed information about Bhatti’s criminal past and his violent rhetoric in order to create further problems for him.
Bhatti has previously stayed near his parent’s hometown and in the areas near the border with Afghanistan. This is the first time that he hasn’t been in weekly contact with his family.
Dagbladet has been informed that close friends and family members always suspected that Bhatti had been arrested. They are annoyed that the Norwegian authorities haven’t provided them with any information about the case.
“The most likely scenario is that the Pakistani intelligence services have arrested him,” a person close to Bhatti told Dagbladet in January.
Deputy Director Frode O. Andersen from The Foreign Ministry says he is aware that Bhatti is alleged to have been arrested and imprisoned in Pakistan.
The Norwegian police have put an APB out for Bhatti through Interpol, according to NTB (Norwegian News Agency).
Back in November, Bhatti published pictures on the internet of himself posing with automatic weapons in a mountainous area which is probably somewhere on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bhatti is a member of the Islamist organization, ‘The Prophet’s Ummah’. He’s been convicted eight times for knife- and shooting-related offenses. In 2008 he was convicted of participating in the firing of a weapon at the Jewish synagogue in Oslo.
Dagbladet have been unable to get a comment from the Police Security Service (PST) this evening.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.