After the four weeks of high drama in Australia, the terror charges against Indian Doctor Mohammed Haneef were dropped. Apparently, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutors admitted that a mistake had been made.
Dr. Haneef was charged on having links with the unsuccessful terror plot in London and Glasgow in June. He was arrested by Australia Federal Police (AFP) under the new Australian anti-terror law. Under this law, a person can be held at any unknown location under suspicion of being involved or supported terrorism. Dr. Haneef was arrested from the Brisbane Airport on July 2 when he was going back to India on a one-way ticket. Australian Federal Police arrested him on the charge that he provided support to a terrorist organisation by giving his mobile phone SIM card to his cousin in London and that SIM card was found in the vehicle used for failed bomb blast near Glasgow airport. Dr. Haneef held in isolation under the tight security in Wolston Correctional Centre.
Haneef’s story has been hit the top leads in Australian media in the last four weeks. The entire Indian community in Australia was tremble especially Indian doctors who are in significant numbers and carrying high reputation.
Very hastily, the Indian Government came into action. The Prime Minister directed the Indian diplomats stationed in Canberra and Sydney to make every efforts to make sure that Dr. Haneef would be given required legal assistance. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh contacted Haneef’s wife and his other family members in Bangalore and promised to provide full assistance to Doctor Haneef getting him justice.
Indian Government without wasting time dispatched Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. E Ahmed to the Ms Ferdous Arshiya wife of Dr. Haneef, in Bangalore. Mr. Ahmed assured Ms. Arshiya that everything would be done by New Delhi to see that Dr. Haneef was treated fairly in Australia. The Indian investigators worked very hard in two weeks and come up with nothing substantial against Dr. Haneef. Presenting the conclusive report senior Indian police investigators said they had found not a single shred of evidence against Doctor Haneef. The Report from Indian investigators had put up huge pressure to the Australian investigatory officers.
The State Minister Mr. E Ahmed made urgent travel arrangement including grant of Australian Visa from the Australian Authority for Ms. Arshiya’s Cousin Imran Siddiqui to visit to Australia to provide moral support and necessary help to Dr. Haneef. The Sate Minister Mr. E Ahmed said that it was the duty of Indian Government to ensure the welfare of all Indians residing abroad.
Finally, on Friday, the July 27, 2007, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has dropped the terror charge against Indian Dr. Haneef as Australian authorities failed to produce enough evidence against Dr. Haneef. Haneef was freed with respect and proceeded to home with his cousin and lawyer.
Dr. Haneef’s case is a good lesson for Pakistani government. Since 11/9 (2001), Pakistan has been the forefront partner of US and Western countries in the war against terrorism. Pakistani government arrested more than 700 allegedly involved in terrorist activity and many of them handed over to United States. On the other hand, many Pakistani were arrested in UK, US and Australia who were charged of terrorism under the most newly created anti-terror laws. 36 years old Pakistani, architect engineer, Fahim Khalid Lodhi, was sentenced to 20 years Jail last year in August. Of course, Fahim received the judgment from the Supreme Court of Australia; nevertheless, nothing was heard from the Pakistani government or Pakistani diplomats when Fahim was first arrested and while Fahim was going through a critical time of facing trial. Fahim always denied of all the charges against him. He was not provided with any legal or moral support by the Pakistani government. There was not a single statement issued to the public from any of Pakistani officials that might have been helped Fahim to defend himself in the court.
In 2001, a Pakistan, Shahraz Kayani, set himself on fire outside Australian Parliament House, in Canberra. Struggling between life and death at the intensive care, Shahraz finally left this world. Shahraz death shocked the Pakistanis living in Australia terribly. Shahraz Kayani had come from Pakistan and had been accepted in Australia as a refugee. Upon repeated attempts by his wife and daughters to join him in Australia, their applications were rejected on the grounds that one of the daughters suffers from cerebral palsy. Despite the fact that Shahraz Kayani made several attempts to seek help from the Pakistani officials, he never received any advice, counseling or help from Pakistani authorities.
Overseas Pakistanis play a vital role in the ongoing economy of the country. They are the highly valuable human resources for Pakistan. They are the true ambassador of Pakistan. They contribute hard cash into the country’s reserves. Pakistani government always claims to look after them. Pakistani government has ministry for overseas Pakistanis. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that overseas Pakistanis hardly find any benefit or support provided to them by their own Government. Especially in this situation where on the name of preventing terrorism or war against terrorism and foreign agencies are found more suspicion on Pakistanis; when overseas Pakistanis are caught and threaten they expect help from their motherland. Unfortunately, these patriotic Pakistanis hardly get any help or even moral support from their Embassies or Pakistani Government. Pakistani diplomatic offices and the department of external affairs are found ignorant of overseas Pakistanis’ issues.