Dr Mohammed Haneef came back home on Sunday. Alighting from a Thai Airways flight, accompanied by his lawyer Peter Russo and relative Imran Siddiqui, at Bangalore airport at 9.30 pm, he said, “It’s over. I’m happy to be back.”
Mobbed by mediapersons and curious onlookers as he was whisked away to a waiting car in the pouring rain, Haneef said: “Give me some time. I’ll talk after that.”
At the airport, Haneef was received by his father-in-law Ashafaq Ahmed and brother Mohammed Shoiab. They drove straight to Ahmed’s house, making just a short stop at the Madeena mosque on their way.
<b1>Another contingent of mediapersons, neighbours and people waited outside the Ahmed residence. Inside, Haneef’s wife Firdous Arshiya and numerous relatives anxiously counted the minutes. Firdous had spent the entire day juggling calls from relatives, friends and mediapersons while keeping an eye on the kitchen, where a sumptuous dinner was being cooked. She had a variety of sweets prepared as Haneef is known to have a sweet tooth. In the evening, relatives gathered to offer shukrana namaaz.
The house looked like it was decked up for Id. “It is like a festival for us. It is our faith in God that gave us the strength to get through this trauma. Our prayers have been answered,” Firdous said, adding that she and Haneef would decide on his future after a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Ahmed was remorseful about his decision to book a one-way ticket to India for Haneef, saying that factor had added to the Australian police’s suspicions. Haneef’s parents and sister also trooped to Ahmed’s house for the homecoming.