Karachi, Apr 11 (PTI) A Pakistani man, who crossed into India two decades ago after being separated from his family and was deported to his country last month, today made an appeal to the Indian government to allow him to meet his wife and three children in Mumbai on humanitarian grounds.
Siraj Khan, 33, narrating his ordeal said that he has lost the legal battle in Mumbai and that his case should be seen on humanitarian ground as he was “neither a spy or a terrorist”.
“My wife, Sajida Pathan, who is an Indian national, has used every legal recourse to get me permission to remain in India with the family. We have three children and I am dying to meet them again,” he told PTI over telephone.
The Ansar Burney Welfare Trust office here has taken up his case when he approached them after losing hope following a visit to various government offices, since his return to Karachi.
Khan, a resident of Manshera in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, said that he got separated from his parents at the age of 11 in 1996, when he boarded ‘Samjhauta Express’ instead of a train to Karachi from Lahore.
“I landed in Amritsar. Later I spent four years at a children’s shelter in Gujarat and after turning 18, I went to Mumbai,” he said.
In Mumbai, Khan worked as a waiter for road side vendors, before finally becoming a chef.
He said in 2005, he got married to Sajida Pathan and in 2009, he surrendered himself before the Indian authorities to claim Indian nationality.
Khan said the moment he surrendered, he realised that perhaps he had made a mistake as authorities made it clear to him that they would not allow him to stay in India.
Urging the governments of the two countries, Khan said “they should realise that there was lot in common between the people of two countries”.
“Some cases should be dealt on humanitarian grounds. I just want to unite with my family again,” he said.
Ruing that no Pakistan government officials met him and heard his case, Khan said, “When Indian girl Geeta was sent back to India, their government received her with open arms. Why is our government treating me so insensitively? I just want to be with my 12-year-old daughter and twin sons, who are just seven-year-old.” Khan admitted that after spending a long time in India, he is now feeling strange after coming back to Pakistan.
“My father died years ago trying to search for me. Now it was my turn to worry about my children,” he added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.