Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mystery - Pakistan human rights activist Burney deported from India

Sometimes the doings of the Indian Government is very mysterious, and many times the doings just don't make sense. Take this example: The deportation of Pakistani human rights campaigner and former Human Rights minister as soon as he arrived at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi (back to Dubai from here he had arrived). Deportation ? You normally expect that to happen when there is a criminal involved, or if somebody arrives in the country without a visa, and you really don't want to let him inside the country. For those who do not know about the doings of Burney in recent times, here is a bit of background:
The case of Indians in Pakistani jails (and vice-versa) is an emotional issue, one that affects plenty of families on either sides, and one that both Governments deal both as a prestige issue as well as one that is supposed to be of high priority (for reference: Indian diplomats are believed to be less caring about the plight of Indian citizens in foreign jails rather than the diplomats of other countries, specially of the West). A long standing issue has been the one of Indian prisoner of wars from the 1971 war (who are supposedly still in Pakistani jails, but which every Government of Pakistan has denied, and whom Indira Gandhi did not make an all out effort to get back when she released the thousands of Pakistani prisoner of wars from the 1971 war). Another recent issue, highlighted in the media has been the cases of specific Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, many of whom have been there for some time.
A long background, but serves to highlight the doings of Ansar Burney. He has apparently made an effort to visit jails, and taken up the case of many Indians who have been in Pakistani jails for a long time. The 2 most recent such persons in the limelight have been Kashmira Singh, and Sarabjit Singh. Burney, as the term goes, batted for both of them, and played an active role in the actual release of Kashmira Singh. He even came in for criticism when Kashmira Singh foolishly stated that he was a spy (people in Pakistani criticized him for helping in getting a spy released), but he was unfazed, and has been making statements in favor of Sarabjit Singh.
And then compare the treatment he has suddenly received on arriving in India:

Seemingly intrigued by the deportation of Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney on Saturday night, the Ministry of External Affairs has sought details about the action from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MEA has asked the MHA to state why Burney, who has been fighting for the cause of Indian prisoners in Pakistan, was deported, sources said.
Burney, who came to New Delhi on Friday night to attend a conference on terrorism, was immediately sent back from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to Dubai from where he had arrived. MHA sources said the former Human Rights Minister of Pakistan was sent back because of a 'look-out notice' against him.

This is all the more surprising since Burney had only recently visited India, and met both the Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, and the Foreign Secretary; so such an action is very surprising. Could it because the new Pakistani Government did not like his actions and wanted to humiliate him and got the Indian Government to issue a look-out notice ?

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 3:11 AM