AN EAST Lancashire man has been arrested in Pakistan, accused of trying to smuggle £200,000 of heroin into the UK.

Aftab Ali, 33, of Commercial Street, Brierfield was stopped at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Rawalpindi.

Officers from the Pakistan Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) said Ali was arrested as he attempted to board a Pakistan International Airlines flight to Manchester.

Mohammed Ayub, commander of ANF said: “Aftab Ali from Brierfield is in custody in Rawalpindi. He is accused of trying to smuggle heroin from Pakistan into the UK.”

Commander Ayub said 90 capsules containing two kilogrammes of the drug had been seized.

And he said Ali remained on remand in custody, although he has not yet been charged. He said the ANF investigation was continuing.

He said the arrest, which happened on February 23, was part of a crackdown on drug smuggling that the Pakistani government is currently running. He said someone convicted of smuggling two kilos of the drug could expect to be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

In Brierfield, a relative who shares his Commercial Street home confirmed he had been arrested in his native Pakistan. She said his wife had been trying to fly out to the country to see him in prison.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “Yes, Aftab has been arrested for carrying heroin in Pakistan. His wife is trying to fly out to see him soon.”

Brierfield Coun Nawaz Ahmed said he was a friend of Mr Ali’s family.

He said: “My family know Mr Ali’s family. I am shocked to hear this has happened as I have never heard his name mentioned in connection with drugs.

“He is a father, which makes this very sad.”