FO rejects reports, says uranium package didn’t originate from Pakistan
File Photo: Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch

The Foreign Office on Thursday rejected media reports that a uranium package seized at London’s Heathrow Airport had originated from Pakistan, terms these as “not factual”.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch – who is the Foreign Office spokesperson – in response to media queries said, “We have seen the media reports. We are confident that the reports are not factual.”

She added that no information to this effect had been shared with them officially by the UK authorities

Earlier, the British police had said they had opened an investigation into a package containing uranium that was seized at London’s Heathrow Airport during routine check on Dec 29.

The Sun, which reported the story first, claimed, however, that the package had originated in Pakistan and arrived on a flight from Oman.

It quoted a source as saying, “The race is on to trace everyone involved,” and added that the package suspected of being smuggled to UK-based Iranians arrived in the hold of a passenger jet.

Specialist scanners detected the potentially-lethal uranium as it was ferried to a freight shed, triggering alarms.

On the other hand, the BBC reported that uranium was found in a shipment of scrap metal and investigators were looking into whether it was the result of “poor handling” in Pakistan.

“I want to reassure the public that the amount of contaminated material was extremely small and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public,” police commander Richard Smith said in a statement to British media.

“Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat.”

According to the BBC, one line of inquiry is whether it was the result of “poor handling” in Pakistan, as it was found in a shipment of scrap metal, according a source.

Unlike The Sun, the BBC reported the shipment’s intended destination is not clear. It reported the Metropolitan Police as saying: “We can confirm officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK.”

But the British police had said that a “very small quantity” of uranium was detected in a package that arrived at Heathrow Airport, which did not appear to be linked to any direct threat or any public health threat.

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