Indian nationals who ‘illegally’ entered Pakistan say ‘ready to go to jail’ but not home country

Published September 26, 2023
Indian nationals Mohammad Hasnain and his son Ishaq Ameer. — X/GeoDogar
Indian nationals Mohammad Hasnain and his son Ishaq Ameer. — X/GeoDogar

Two Indian citizens, who purportedly illegally travelled to Karachi last week, said on Tuesday that they were “ready to go to jail” but did not want to return to their home country.

According to the Karachi police, Mohammad Hasnain and Ishaq Ameer allegedly entered Pakistan through the Pak-Afghan border in a bid to seek asylum over threats to their lives due to religious persecution in India. They then reportedly found their way to Karachi.

Karachi Deputy Inspector General of Police (South) Asad Raza told Dawn.com that the father-son duo “were not suspected of being spies but were considered victims of religious bias and persecution in India”.

The official said both the Indian nationals had “temporarily been housed in an Edhi Shelter home”, adding that “it looks like they want to seek asylum here”.

Separately, a statement issued by the Artillery Ground police station today said the two men staged a protest outside the Karachi Press Club on September 25 (Sunday) against atrocities faced by Muslims in India.

“We are ready to go to jail but not back to India,” they were quoted as saying in the police statement. “We will be killed as soon as we step on Indian land if we are deported.”

“If you want to kill us, kill us in Pakistan. At least we will get some land (for burial). In India, we won’t even get that,” the statement quoted them as saying.

The statement further quoted them as saying that they had visited the Sindh police chief’s office but their concerns were not addressed.

“Edhi gave us shelter for four days and will shift us somewhere else today. Our official Indian documents are with the Edhi staff,” the father-son duo were quoted as saying.

The statement added that the Indian nationals undertook a 14-day journey from their residence in the Gautampuri area of New Delhi before entering Pakistan.

The statement also shed light on how they travelled from India to Pakistan. It said both of them were facing legal issues.

‘This is my story’: Indian nationals narrate their journey

Speaking to media outside the press club yesterday, Hasnain had said he and his son had left New Delhi on September 5 for the UAE from where they reached out to the Afghanistan embassy for a visa.

“Then we travelled to Kabul from where we flew to Kandahar,” he had said. “Kandahar has a soft border through which people cross across into Pakistan. We spent one night at the border town and then continued our journey to Pakistan.

“This is my story.”

Hasnain had added that after entering Pakistan, they paid a man Rs60,000 to transport them to Karachi.

“The atrocities being inflicted on Muslims in India are not reported there,” he continued. “Since the Modi government came into power, newspapers, electronic and print media all have sided with Modi.”

Hasnain said there was a very small section in the media that highlighted the problems being faced by Muslims. “Their way is that if a Muslim is caught over something, even while protesting, they bulldoze his home saying that it is built illegally.

“I am not the first person to leave the country. Many have before me. But they were rich and could afford foreign citizenship in Europe, America, Britain, Germany, or Canada,” he said.

“Those who are well off migrated to Turkey, Azerbaijan, or Malaysia. I did not have that stature. I had less money.”

In reply to a question, Hasnain added that he was denied a hotel room in Karachi because he did not possess an identification card.

Hasnain’s son Ameer also spoke to the media. “My father is 70 years old and my age is 31. When we reached Karachi, our first stop was Orangi Town after which we directly went to the office of IG Sindh.

“As soon as we reached there, we kept our baggage on the side, raised our hands, and said we are here to surrender. When we were asked what are we surrendering for, we said we have fled India and come here.”

Ameer confirmed that they requested the police to give them refuge after telling them the entire story of how they travelled illegally into Pakistan. The police directed them to go to an Edhi shelter home.

Dawn.com has reached out to the Foreign Office for comment.

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