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Firdous waits for Haneef, thanks govt

She also drops her earlier stand that the Australian Federal Police should apologise for charging her husband, reports BR Srikanth.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2007 01:20 IST
BR Srikanth
BR Srikanth
Hindustan Times

With a momentous reunion on cards on Monday, 24-year-old Firdous Arshiya was not unduly agitated that her husband Dr Mohammed Haneef's 457 work visa was not restored by the Australian government, on Saturday.

For one, she had decided not to return to Australia in view of the 25-day ordeal that her husband had to endure since his detention at the Brisbane international airport on July 2nd.

Dr Haneef will head home on Saturday night onboard a Thai Airways aircraft from Brisbane international airport at 12.25 am. He will fly to Bangkok and take a connecting flight to Bangalore on Sunday. His wife's cousin Imran Ahmed Siddiqui and his lawyer Peter Russo will travel with him to Bangalore.

Firdous was looking forward to a bridge visa — rather than a regular work visa — from the moment her cousin Siddiqui told her, on Friday, that the Australian government has decided to drop charges against her husband.

"First of all I thank God. I thank the Government of India and all Indians who stood by him and helped me cope," she told reporters at the residence of her father Ashafaq Ahmed on Saturday.

She also dropped her earlier stand that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) should apologise for charging her husband of links with unsuccessful terror attacks in London and Glasgow last month. "It's ok. Everyone knows that my husband is innocent. The whole world knows it. I wanted him to return in a regular manner, I didn't want him deported because it would have been a black mark," she said, awaiting an update from her cousin on their flight plan.

On Friday, she told this correspondent "I don't want to go back there (Australia), but I will listen to his (Dr Haneef's) point," soon after the Gold Coast Hospital offered to reinstate her husband. She hinted at various alternatives, here and overseas, which the couple would explore after a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Dr Haneef's sister Summaiya and brother Mohammed Shoaib said they were happy to hear that their brother would be home earlier than expected. They offered sweets to their neighbours and to the media soon after they got to know of his plans to head for Bangalore.

The 27-year-old doctor's lawyer Russo, however, will pursue the appeal lodged against the decision to cancel the visa in the Brisbane Federal Court, with a hearing scheduled to take place on August 8. The visa was cancelled on July 16 when the doctor was charged a terrorist and ordered to remain in solitary confinement.

First Published: Jul 29, 2007 01:12 IST