A follow up to this story of 2/11/08. It's not good when authorities are baffled, possums. Or when the New Zealand high authorities only learn of your detention through news reports.
Geez. He had two passports, a recording device and notebooks. Officials can't figure out who issued his visa, or what he was doing there, and they throw water on the idea that he was there to marry a local girl because of local values and mores. So, is he a journalist? Does he have 'jihadist tendencies'?
And is he a new recruit of Tablighi Jamaat?
His family in New Zealand want the issue to remain private and away from the public. I'm sure they do. I say too darn bad.
Officials are baffled as to why a New Zealand man, suspected of having links with Islamic militants, was trying to enter an al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in Pakistan. Mark Taylor, 35, was detained at a paramilitary checkpost on the outskirts of Tank, a town about 280 kilometres southwest of Islamabad, after being found on a bus.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry was trying to organise a legal representative for Mr Taylor last night and had contacted his family to advise that he had been detained. "We have no idea why he was detained, but the family want the issue to remain private and away from the public," a spokeswoman said.
The consul was inquiring into the detained man's wellbeing and liaising with the closest New Zealand embassy in the region, which was in Tehran.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said the Government was concerned Mr Taylor may have got himself into trouble, but it was in the hands of local authorities.
Pakistan media agencies reported that a senior security official said Mr Taylor "appears to be motivated by jihad". Intelligence officials, who declined to be identified, said they suspected he might have links with militants. "He was travelling in a passenger van. He has a beard and was wearing a shalwar kamiz as a disguise," an official said, referring to the traditional baggy trousers and tunic.
Other Pakistan media agencies said Mr Taylor was travelling to marry a local girl, a claim that gave officials "a big laughter".
The South Asia News reported that Mr Taylor was carrying New Zealand and Australian passports. He also had a tape recorder. "It appears that he might be a journalist, but he has not admitted that so far," an official said. Another media agency, Dawn Edition, reported that Mr Taylor had valid documents.
"Taylor told police he was going to Waziristan to get married. He said he had four wives, but all of them had died and now he planned to marry a tribal woman."
Irfan Shaukat, first secretary of the Pakistan high commission in Wellington, said the first the high commission knew of Mr Taylor's arrest was through news reports. "We don't think he got a visa from us. Maybe he got it in Australia."
In Canberra, Pakistan's deputy high commissioner, Tasawar Khan, said a visa had not been issued there, but one may have been issued in Sydney.
A Christchurch Islamic expert, who asked not to be named, said his first thought on hearing the story was that Taylor might have become caught up with the global Tablighi Jamaat movement.
Members are trained missionaries who travel around mosques encouraging people to follow Islamic principles and the life of Muhammad through his teachings. They claim to be non-political but are highly conservative and often target new converts. "Some of them might say `come up to the mountains and we will find you a good Muslim bride someone chaste'."
Reports indicate that although Tablighi Jamaat is widely considered as a missionary group, its members are becoming increasingly radical and have been linked to the recruitment of young men for training camps in Pakistan.
Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Javed
Khan said the South Waziristan area was very dangerous for foreigners. It was also highly conservative, making it unlikely Taylor would be there to marry a local tribeswoman. "The good thing is he is in the hands of the authorities, not in the hands of the Taliban," Khan said.
Remember David Hicks, the Australian who trained with al Qaeda, fought with the Taliban and ended up spending 7 years at Gitmo before being released back to Australia? Yeah, that Tali-dude. Now he's eyeing the Messiah with longing and saying 'he'll do anything to clear his name'. Hate to break it to you possums, but the way thing's are going these days he just might succeed.
Convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks will take up any opportunity presented by the new US administration to clear his name, his father says.
Terry Hicks says his son has watched with interest the inauguration of Barack Obama and he and his lawyers have noted the new president's early moves to suspend military trials at Guantanamo Bay, and to have the detention facility closed.
David Hicks, who pleaded guilty to a charge of supporting terrorism, was held at the US detention centre in Cuba for more than five years after being captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.
In March 2007, under a plea bargain, he was sentenced to seven years jail but ordered to serve only nine months with the rest of his sentence suspended.
He returned to Australia and was released from Adelaide's Yatala Jail more than a year ago.
Terry Hicks on Friday said that President Obama had clearly realised that Guantanamo Bay was a blight on America.
But he said the question of having those still held at the military facility dealt with by civilian courts raised the question of his son challenging his conviction under the military commission process.