//Man rejected by Delhi, Islamabad stews in prison

Man rejected by Delhi, Islamabad stews in prison

Published: Thursday, 16 March, 2006, 10:43 AM Doha Time

LAHORE: Khwaja Omar Alam alias Mohamed Owais Ali wants to live on the Zero Line given that both India and Pakistan do not accept him as a citizen.

Alam has been cooling his heals in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since October 2004.

“Both governments have been tossing him in each other’s courts, neither ready to accept him, while his family – wife and seven children – are under virtual house arrest,” Pakistani newspaper Daily Times on Wednesday reported its Delhi-based correspondent as saying.

A law graduate from Aligarh University, Alam was an Indian till 1983 when he went to Karachi to stay with his ailing maternal grandfather. He did not seek an extension after his visa expired.

Instead, he “purchased” a fake Pakistani passport and changed his name to Mohamed Owais Ali.

As Mohammad Owais Ali, he travelled to India in 1989 to marry his cousin. He revisited India with his family on the same passport in 2004 after the death of his grandfather in Karachi.

After his Indian visa expired, Alam filed a petition seeking the “return” of his Indian citizenship.

The court referred the matter to the Indian Union Home Ministry, which rejected his application and filed a case of overstay, treating him as a Pakistani since he had travelled on a Pakistani passport.

Later, the court ordered he be deported to Pakistan after his sentence was completed.

But in the course of verifying his antecedents, the Pakistani government found that he had travelled on a fake Pakistani passport.

Therefore, Islamabad refused to accept him as its citizen. And India wants him deported.

He remains in Tihar Jail because of the lack of a national identity.

His wife, an Indian national, escaped arrest but has been confined by the New Delhi police to virtual house arrest. – Internews