Haryana asked to probe death of Pakistani in custody

March 21st, 2008 - 12:20 am ICT by admin  


Chandigarh, March 20 (IANS) The union ministry for home affairs (MHA) Thursday asked the Haryana government to probe the death of a Pakistani cricket fan in custody. The body of Khalid Mahmoud was handed over to Pakistani authorities earlier this month - nearly a month after he died mysteriously at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

He was lodged in Bhondsi jail in Haryana’s Gurgaon district and was shifted to AIIMS earlier this year where he died Feb 12.

This led to an outrage in Pakistan with the media accusing India of sending a dead Pakistani just a few days after Hoshiarpur resident Kashmir Singh, a former spy and soldier, was handed over to India after spending 35 years in Pakistani prisons.

The MHA has now directed the Haryana government to ask the state police to probe Khalid’s death and submit the report within one week.

Khalid came to India March 2005 to watch an India-Pakistan Test match. He over-stayed in India beyond the period allowed in his visa.

He was put on the list of 11 “missing” Pakistani cricket fans, who never returned to Pakistan after the 2005 Test series. The police nabbed him in 2006.

After his body was sent back to Pakistan earlier March, his relatives registered a case in Lahore against officials of the Bhondsi jail in Haryana for torturing Khalid to death.

Pakistani authorities alleged that Khalid was denied consular access by India during his detention.

But Indian authorities have maintained that Khalid died of a liver infection and was not tortured.

Earlier, another Pakistani national, Jamal Qureshi, arrested in India two years ago on charges of spying and possessing fake currency was released and handed over to Pakistani authorities at the Attari-Wagah land border on Wednesday.

His release took place after a fast-track court in Uttar Pradesh acquitted him of the charges and said he was not involved in any anti-India activities.

Qureshi was arrested October 2005 when he came to India for a wedding ceremony in his family from Pakistan and was caught with a fake currency note.

His release coincided with Pakistan’s decision to defer by 30 days the execution of Indian national Sarabjit Singh, who was to be hanged April 1.

Singh has been accused of spying and terrorist activities in Pakistan but his family in India says that it is a case of mistaken identity.

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