- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) — U.S. authorities detained a nephew of President Pervez Musharraf for two weeks because of a visa violation, U.S. and Pakistani officials said Saturday.

Aamir Javed Musharraf was detained Feb. 19 and released Friday on bail, they said. He must appear before an immigration judge who could order him deported back to Pakistan.

The younger Musharraf informed his family in Pakistan, "but so far nobody in the government in Islamabad contacted the embassy to help him out," said an official at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

Musharraf is married to an Arab-American woman and had applied for naturalization on the basis of his marriage.

Sources close to the family told United Press International that young Musharraf is legally blind and that's why he missed a legal notice asking him to adjust his visa status.

Immigration officials arrested him in Memphis, Tennessee, as he went to register at a local immigration office under a program requiring thousands of visiting males from 25 mostly Muslim countries to be photographed and fingerprinted.

Aamir Musharraf was found to have an expired tourist visa from 1994.

Authorities did not know his place of employment or any other details of his stay in the United States.

Till early this week, about 1,700 people who registered under the anti-terrorism program have been detained for at least a few days. So far, 122,500 people have registered under the program.

The registration program was introduced on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Pakistan was added to the registration list last December.

The registration deadline for the Pakistanis expired on Feb. 21 but was extended for a month.

Most of the Pakistanis detained under this program are asked to furnish a bail of $1,500, and are referred to an immigration judge for further proceedings.

An estimated 50,000 Pakistanis are expected to be affected by the registration program.

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