Indian Airlines hijacker seeks nod to practise law in Canada | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian Airlines hijacker seeks nod to practise law in Canada

india Updated: Sep 29, 2009 13:41 IST

The mastermind of the 1984 hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight to Lahore, who took refuge here 14 years ago and faces deportation to India, has now sought permission to practise law in Canada.

Parminder Singh Saini, now 46, was the ring leader of five Sikh youths who hijacked an Indian Airlines flight from Srinagar to New Delhi in 1984 and took it to Lahore.

The hijack drama ended after a 17-hour stand-off, with the hijackers surrendering to the Pakistani authorities.

After a trial in Pakistan, Saini was sentenced to death by a Lahore court. But the death sentence was commuted to life term. He had spent 10 years in jail when he was released and asked to leave Pakistan.

In 1995, Saini entered Canada illegally under the name Balbir Singh with a fake Afghan passport.

After his arrival here, he earned a B.A. degree and a law degree even as he fought his deportation order.

Now Saini, who still faces deportation and is listed as a national threat in Canada, has requested the Law Society of Upper Canada to allow him to practise law here.

Appearing before the Law Society recently, Saini said he regretted his past and added he deserved a shot at life in this country.

Referring to the 1984 hijacking, he said, "I had no legitimate right to do that. It's not legal."

Opposing Saini's application to practise law, Law Society counsel Susan Heakes was quoted in the local Toronto Star as saying, "Over the course of the last 15 years, courts and tribunals (in Canada) have declared that he is a danger to the public and security in Canada and that he shouldn't remain."

"How can you reconcile those decisions, as recent as July 2009, and find that Mr. Saini.....should be admitted to the bar?"

Currently, Saini is attached to his brother's immigration consultancy firm Singh and Associates based in Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto.

The Pakistani authorities had reportedly arranged a fake Afghan passport for him to enter Canada where he landed on Jan 21, 1995.

Saini duped Canadian customs with his fake name and passport. He also told them he had no criminal record and no family relatives in Canada to support him despite the fact that his brother and mother were already living here.

The Canadian spy agency had caught him eight months later upon his arrival and ordered him to be deported. But his case is still in limbo.