Canada set to deport Pakistani man accused of ties to terrorist group

TORONTO — A Pakistani man who amassed a collection of high-power guns will be deported as soon as Canadian authorities can arrange his removal as a danger to Canada’s national security, an immigration hearing heard Monday.

The detention review heard that Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari had waived his right to ask for a pre-removal risk assessment, clearing the way for him to be sent back.

Naureen Ismail, speaking for the government, told the hearing that Ansari has a valid passport and Canada Border Services Agency were finalizing removal details.

Neither Ansari nor his lawyer participated in the review and he was ordered to remain in custody, said Anna Pape, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Ansari, 30, a permanent resident, was arrested in October, days after the deadly attacks on soldiers in Quebec and Ottawa.

In a decision rendered last month, presiding board member Alicia Seifert ruled that the software designer who had worked under contract with the Bank of Montreal belonged to the terrorist organization known as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan or Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaal.

“Mr. Ansari has been engaged in activities dating back to 2004 which raise very serious concerns regarding whether he has an extremist mindset and whether he supports or has supported terrorist activities,” Seifert said in her written ruling.

Those activities include statements he made extolling the virtues of jihad, postings on his Facebook showing him posing with firearms, and a photograph of the Scotiabank tower in Toronto which he captioned, “If only I had a plane,” the ruling states.

According to evidence presented, Ansari amassed $20,000 in weapons and ammunition from May to August 2012 while living in Peterborough, Ont.

“It could have been acceptable that the reason he spent $20,000 purchasing guns and ammunition was the result of the financial irresponsibility of youth and the novelty of having hundreds of thousands of dollars at his disposal for the first time,” Seifert wrote.

“The fact, however that he amassed $20,000 in guns and ammunition over such a short period raises questions and concerns, that remain plausibly unanswered, regarding his motives and whether there was an underlying plan.”

Ansari also admitted to a close relationship with a Pakistani man — Maulana Ilyas Ghuman — who runs a religious school in Pakistan. Seifert concluded Ghuman was engaged in terrorist activities.

“I am satisfied that the constellation of facts before me with respect to both Mr. Ansari’s own words and actions, as well as his devotion to Mr. Ghuman and his cause, establish that Mr. Ansari in fact represents a danger to the security of Canada,” Seifert ruled.

Pape said no deportation decision had been made yet in the unrelated but similar case of Jahanzeb Malik, a Pakistani man the government accuses of plotting to blow up buildings in Toronto.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press