ISLAMABAD - In a strange cum surprising development, UAE Embassy in Pakistan has denied visas to the three-member team of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing Malik Sikander, the main character of Islamabad standoff incident, in mid August

This development has given credence to the suspicions that the firing incident at one of the Islamabad's main avenues, some weeks ago, in which a lone gunman Sikander had virtually made hostage the capital for more than five hours, had some international links. But grounds of visa refusal are still unknown. 

Well-placed official sources in the Ministry of Interior Tuesday informed that Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, had also made a special request to UAE ambassador in Pakistan for the issuance of visas of JIT but he failed to get a reasonable answer. The sources close to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the minister had issued a last warning to the Foreign Office stating that diplomatic channels should be used to get visas for three officers of JIT who wanted to visit UAE to investigate the international links of Malik Sikander.

The sources said that the interior minister had asked the FO that the concerned authorities of UAE should be conveyed that the three officers should be issued visas otherwise, the government of Pakistan would make this issue public. The FO had been insisting that the reasons of not issuing visas should be communicated to the interior ministry if any.

A senior officer of the Ministry of Interior wishing anonymity told this scribe that the denial of visas to members of JIT had given rise to a number of doubts and answers could be got after investigating the reasons behind thoroughly.

The three officers of JIT, one each from Intelligence Bureau (IB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Islamabad Police wanted to visit UAE to probe the international links of Sikander if any. The three members also wanted to know about the length of his stay in UAE and the details of his activities during the entire period.