Indian relatives speak up for jailed Pakistani in MadridApril 19th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by admin
By V. Vijayalakshmi
Pune, April 19 (IANS) While Pakistani national Shahid Iqbal contemplates his future locked up in a Madrid jail over an alleged terror plot, his relatives in India say he is innocent and are trying to garner support for him. According to Mohammed Iqbal, who is Shahid’s brother-in-law, Madrid Police arrested the 27-year-old along with 13 others Jan 19 on charges of planning a terrorist act.
“In fact the truth is that these people had got to know one another at a three-day congregation (jamaat) in Barcelona,” Mohammed Iqbal, who lives here, told IANS.
Of the 14 arrested by Spanish police, two are said to be Indians - one of whom is Roshan Jamal Khan from Mumbai.
“All those arrested are hardworking persons from middle-class families and have nothing to do with terrorism,” says Mohammed, who is studying and working in Pune.
He says his sister Zehra (Shahid’s wife), currently in Rawalpindi, is facing a hard time convincing the Pakistan government to take up their case. “We feel it’s a political conspiracy and only if the Pakistani government intervenes can the proceedings and investigations speed up,” contends Mohammed.
Shahid has been making phone calls to his wife every day since he is allowed to speak with a family member for four minutes daily. He has also spoken to Mohammed and told him that he had absolutely no inkling of what was going on and why. Incidentally, Shahid and Mohammed are also cousins and had studied together in Kuwait.
Shahid was working in a Barcelona publishing house and was planning to venture into construction activities soon. Another person among those arrested has been a baker for 30 years and is the sole breadwinner for his family, Mohammed said.
Last month, some 500 members of the Indian-Pakistani expatriate community held a protest march against the arrests in Barcelona.
“We have been trying to contact the Pakistani Embassy in Madrid. They keep telling us they are pursuing the matter. We hope things speed up and these innocent persons are released at the earliest,” said Mohammed.
Pune Police said they have no information about the case. Deputy Commissioner of Police J. Sukekar told IANS that they could intervene only if directed by the union home ministry.