A recent INTCAS victim, Aisha, shares her horrific story on Pakistani human trafficking gang INTCAS
Why Am I Writing My Story?
Recently, I have been seeing some news about INTCAS immigration fraud and visa scam. As an INTCAS victim, I also want to share my story here. It is a story of what seems too scary to be true. Yet, it is. It is a reality of a scam administered by a Pakistani gang, of how a bogus college turned out to be human trafficking of asylum seekers, and of the mastermind of it all, Zakaria Mahmood.
My Contact with INTCAS
My name is Aisha, and I am a 22-year-old girl living in Lahore. I was born in Sheikhupura and went to university in Lahore to study computer science. I always wanted to go abroad for a Masters degree. After some research online, I found INTCAS. I contacted them, asking about the process of getting a student visa. In the beginning, everything seemed professional. However, I noticed that getting a student visa for the UK is not as easy as I hoped. It requires a lot of money and a high level of English. I had to get an IELTS 7 along with around £30,000 to cover my tuition fee and living expenses for a year. On top of that, I had to add a flight cost and an English exam cost.
I told INTCAS staff that it is too expensive, and I want to defer it for later. However, they told me not to worry and that someone will contact me soon to discuss other opportunities. After two days, my phone rang. A person on the other end introduced himself as Zakaria Mahmood, the owner of INTCAS. He said that from my accent, he guesses I speak Urdu. Then he switched to Urdu, wanting me to trust him. He asked about my background and family. Then, about my goals after getting a Masters. I told him that I just want to leave Pakistan for good because I am young and I know I have no future here. Thus, I would love to live in Britain.
Searching for a Better Future
Zakaria Mahmood told me that under a student visa, I would not be able to work. Additionally, when my one-year visa expires, I have to return back to my own country. It wasn’t a very good option for me. Having to spend £30,000 only to stay in Britain for a year did not sound great. However, Zakaria Mahmood told me that he has a suggestion, given my background. He suggested seeking asylum in the UK, which was the first time I ever heard of it. I got slightly scared and asked how that was possible. He said that when I arrive, I will get a free house, free money paid to my bank account every week, and also free healthcare. He told me I also can become a British citizen in a few years. I was still worried and told him that I really don’t know how this can work. He told me not to worry as he will do everything from A to Z for £10,000.
After talking to my family, I decided to give this a try. Zakaria Mahmood asked me to send him two different passport photos I had. After two weeks, someone from INTCAS called me and said to be ready for my trip. According to them, I was going to receive a parcel in a couple of days. After two days, I got a DHL mail at my door. When I opened it, there was one Spanish passport and an ID card. There was a Spanish name but with my photo attached to it. I should have known then that this was a visa scam. I got scared and called Zakaria Mahmood in confusion. He told me to calm down. They had a good idea for me to land in London. Then, he explained to me the plan for the next 5 days…
Arrival in Istanbul
I was ready for the flight. INTCAS sent me a ticket, which was under my real name, to Istanbul. In Lahore airport, I showed my Pakistani passport and boarded the plane. However, when I landed in Istanbul, according to the plan, I showed my Spanish passport. I was scared to death to be caught. I passed the border and got an entry stamp on my forged passport.
In Turkey, a man from INTCAS was waiting for me. He got me a taxi, and we went to a guesthouse, which was a cheap hostel, in Istanbul. The guests there were mainly Pakistani men waiting for their flight. He told me to stay there for 3 days. I called Zakaria Mahmood and he suggested me to enjoy Istanbul for a few days before my next flight. On the day of my flight to London, the same man from INTCAS took me to the airport. He didn’t fill out an online check-in, so I had to go to the kiosk myself. A person at the kiosk asked me where I am flying to. “London,” I replied. He scanned my passport. It was a regular procedure, after all. Suddenly, his face changed and he told me to wait a minute. My heart sank with fear. But I held on. The kiosk guy came back with another, a slightly older, man. They scanned the passport again. I heard them talking in Turkish. These were the most difficult moments of my life. I was terrified. They asked me to wait for another couple of minutes.
Arrested for Fake Passport
Then, my worries and anxieties became real. I felt that trouble was coming, and quickly. Two armed police officers came. The airline staff told me that they found out my passport to be fake. They had no choice but to hand me over to the border police. I started crying and couldn’t speak, fear and emotion engulfing me. I got arrested. The police officers led me to a detention room. They took all my belongings, including my phone. I was not allowed to even talk to my family.
There were around 10 other women in the airport detention centre. All were from different nationalities, and all caught for a forged passport or visa. One of them was also an INTCAS customer. She was from Tajikistan. She was crying vigorously, and her English wasn’t good. She was only asking for help. We were detained there for 3 days. After that, we went for an interview with the airport police. An officer told me I got caught with a fake passport, and I will be deported back to Pakistan with a ban to enter Turkey for 5 years. They returned my belongings and asked me to book the first flight back.
Return to Pakistan
I called Zakaria Mahmood immediately. I was screaming at him. There was no way I could hold back all the fury and devastation I had. He tried to calm me down. He promised that it is not a big deal and that he has people in Pakistan to take care of me. How could I argue? I had no choice. I was desperate, but I trusted him. Only now I understand what a fool I was. I was sent back to my country. However, on my arrival, Pakistani police retained my passport and arrested me for immigration fraud. This was a lot worse than Turkey. Although, at least I had the chance to call my family.
Much happened, but my family released me under a bail. My passport stayed with the police, and I am barred from leaving Pakistan for 3 years. Now, I have police records. My future is ruined. I called Zakaria Mahmood and all he is promising is another passport, so we can give it another try. But I am too scared. I will not do this thing again in my life. However, if there is anything I can make out of this experience, it is a warning. Do not sign up for INTCAS, or any similar visa scamming company or group. This is a human trafficking Pakistani gang. This is passport forgery and immigration fraud. They lure people in with their bogus college and fake promises of a bright future. Learn from my experience and avoid them at any cost. I think it is vital for people like me to come forward and expose the crimes of INTCAS and Zakaria Mahmood.
I genuinely hope Zakaria Mahmood reads this and will contact me soon. I want my money back.