No land’s man: Pakistani forsaken by his country yearns to return to wife and kids
Mohammad Idrees Alam left behind his wife Shabana and four children in Karachi (Pakistan) in 1999 to be by the side of his ailing parents in Kanpur.Updated: Sep 06, 2017 00:34 IST
A 49-year-old Indian-born Pakistani man seeks to embrace death, rather than live a forsaken refugee’s rotten life since he overstayed his visa 18 years ago and his adopted country refused to take him back.
Mohammad Idrees Alam pleaded for mercy killing before a Kanpur magistrate on Monday, saying he can’t think of any other way to get rid of his miseries that assailed him after he left wife Shabana and their four children in Karachi in 1999 to nurse his ailing parents in the Uttar Pradesh city.
- Mohammad Idrees Alam, who was produced before the city magistrate’s court on Monday, said he was fed up of his life and sought mercy killing to get rid of his miseries.
- The court granted bail to Idrees in connection with a case of brawl. He was arrested last month.
He often thought of ending his life “but the prospect of reuniting with my family gave me hope each time”, said the man who migrated to Pakistan in 1987 and set up a successful leader business.
The past 18 years have been tumultuous — he spent many years in jail as a suspected Pakistani spy, his parents died, relatives usurped his ancestral property, did odd jobs to “keep the soul from abandoning the body”, and slept rough on footpaths.
But a strong wish to meet his family again kept him alive.
“I was doing well in business. I was leading a happy life. I just want to get reunited with my wife and children. The (diplomatic) technicalities have ruined my life. I don’t belong to this place,” Alam said.
His ordeal began after father Ahmad Jan died at their home in Mishri Bazar, and he overstayed his visa by three days to look after his widowed ailing mother.
When he approached authorities for a visa extension, they suspected him to be a Pakistani spy and arrested him. It took police and India’s slow-moving courts almost a decade to find him innocent.
He was acquitted and has to be deported.
But his passport — issued in Karachi in May 1997 — expired in 2003 and Pakistani officials refused to let him return to his country.
He was taken to the international border post of Attari in Punjab for deportation. But Pakistani officials said he should be presented before the embassy in New Delhi.
Alam was questioned for hours in the embassy. They said he was not a Pakistani and accused him of travelling on a fake passport. They also said his family in Pakistan had disowned him.
Indian authorities didn’t know what to do with the outcast. Kanpur police tried to keep him at detention centres in Ghaziabad and New Delhi. But they refused.
Police then thrust him in jail again on various charges. The trial moved slowly, as usual. And when he was released, his mother had died by then and a relative had taken over his parents’ house.
“My brother and kicked me out of the house. I am not interested in Indian citizenship. Pakistan should issue me a fresh passport,” he said.
A nowhere man with no place to live, Alam did odd jobs, slept by the roadside or on hospital compounds and in front of shops along Meston Road.
A cotton bag slung across his shoulder had his worldly possessions: toothpaste, soap and clothes.
On February 23, 2013, Idrees was arrested again for buying a cell phone SIM card on forged documents. He remained in jail for four-and-a-half years before being released this August.
But his freedom was momentary. As he stepped out of Kanpur jail, he was rearrested on the charge of brawling with a passerby.
Alam will be freed again and police are clueless where to keep him now.
“We have sent necessary documents to the Union home ministry. A team of officials is in New Delhi trying to obtain permission to keep him at a detention centre,” senior superintendent of police Sonia Singh.
Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney has taken up Alam’s curious case posting photographs and other information on his Facebook page and asking people to help him find his family.
Alam’s wife, who was his cousin, and kids were not found on the address that he gave.