DR Mohammed Haneef and his wife Firdous got the news of restoration of his visa on the last day of their pilgrimage at Mecca. His relatives, who are ecstatic, plan to sue the Australian Government for compensation over the young physician’s traumatic incarceration and loss of employment since July 2007.
As kheer flowed in celebration and shukrana namaz was offered at the residence of Dr Haneef, his father-in-law Ashfaq Ahmed and Firdous’ uncle Iqbal Siddiqui were uncertain over whether he would return to work at the Gold Coast Hospital. They were, however, unambiguous over claiming compensation for his ordeal from the time he was arrested at the Brisbane Airport on July 2, a couple of hours ahead of his departure for Bangalore. “We are going to talk to his lawyer about the amount and other details,” Iqbal Siddiqui told HT.
Haneef’s lawyer Peter Russo confirmed the fact that Haneef would move the courts in Australia for damages. Russo will arrive in Bangalore next February to work out the details with the doctor’s relatives. “The first step will be to get him back here (Australia), though we are not sure whether the Gold Coast Hospital will offer him a job. The next step will probably be to move the courts. He might be entitled to something because he’s lost about six months of work and the trauma involved when he was held in solitary confinement,” Russo said.
The lawyer added: “Worst is over for Haneef but it’s a bit tricky if he decides to return here (Australia). I’m saying tricky because he’s now a superstar, a Hollywood hero, after these battles (in court) and people won’t let him work. Everyone will try to talk to him or touch him.”
In Australia, the Immigration Minister Cris Evans said the Australian government will not seek cancellation of Haneef’s work visa that was reinstated by a court here, and the doctor was free to return to the country. “I formed the judgment there was no basis for me to seek to move to cancel Haneef’s visa. The effect of that is that Haneef’s visa stands as valid. Haneef is therefore entitled to return to this country and take up employment in accordance with his 457 visa,” he said.