A case of mistaken identity -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

A case of mistaken identity

KARACHI: With golden years of his life spent languishing in jail, a Bangladeshi prisoner in Pakistan faces the tricky task of proving his religious identity before he could be set free by the authorities. Abdul Hanan had been arrested by Lahore police while crossing the border and was booked under the Foreigners Act and thrown into Kot Lakhpat jail. He was later declared a RAW agent and called by the name of Kishan Lal.

The Indian government was contacted to establish his identity but it denied that he was an Indian citizen. The source of his trouble was his losing his original ID card in the year 1995. An FIR was registered in Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station in this connection. The police, however, detained him allegedly for not greasing their palms.

He has been in Kot Lakhpat Jail since 1997 as under trial prisoner without ever being produced in court, except once on Dec 29, 2006. He was working in the power-loom factory in Karachi at Zia-ul-Haq Colony along with other Bengali people. His neighbors and other colleagues had also sent written authority, recognizing him as Muslim by birth.

He was born in village Tatua of North District of Chandpur, former East Pakistan, and is one of those who paid a heavy price of the Dhaka Fall. According to details gathered from different quarters and his counsel Arif Dawood, even the jail authorities were worried as there was no legatee who could fight case on his behalf.

Late in 2001, he was approached by DK Foundation which on humanitarian grounds did all correspondence with the Bangladesh government. The latter, in turn, sent a letter of authorization in favour of Hannan sending all facts and proofs of him being a national born in former East Pakistan.

In this letter, they demanded of the government of Pakistan that Hannan be deported to Bangladesh as no evidence of his guilt had been found. His family too was unaware of his whereabouts. It may be noted that the National Identity Card was introduced in 1974. According to the NGO, the Supreme Court has asked to prove his identity upon which he would be released. He is being shifted to Karachi Central Jail for this process.

Source: The News

Date:1/10/2007