A niece’s wedding, a return trip with his mother and a funeral. According to his family, these are the events Mohammad Parvez travelled to Pakistan for in the past three months — which were flagged by the Delhi Police after he was picked up on charges of “blackmailing a woman Colonel”.
On September 11, Parvez was with his 11-year-old daughter when he received a call. On the other end was his friend, Hanan, who asked him to come to Darya Ganj police station. He was picked up and detained under charges of blackmail, amid allegations that he threatened to upload morphed photos of the Colonel online. When his Pakistan visits came to light, police further alleged “he had suspected ISI links”.
Inside Parvez’s room in Chandni Mahal, his family watched the TV as his name flashed across the screen. His two elder sisters from Pakistan, Firdoz and Nazma, kept calling. “We didn’t pick up after the news channels branded him an ISI agent. We were scared our phones were also being tracked by police,” said Shabnam, Parvez’s sister.
His family told The Indian Express that Parvez visits Pakistan every year. “Two of our sisters married around two decades ago and are settled there. He visits Karachi at least eight times a year. He does it with proper permission, shuttling between buses and trains, and not by infiltrating the border like some channels are saying,” said Arshad, his brother.
His wife, Zakiya, said Parvez visited the country in March for his niece’s wedding. He left after 18 days while his mother stayed back. On June 26, he visited Lahore to bring back his mother. The last visit he made was in July — to attend the funeral of Sabil, Nazma’s husband. He stayed for 18 days.
Parvez used to sell artificial jewellery on the street, but around four years ago, police asked him to vacate. He has been unemployed since then, and has been looking after his wife and four children. “They say he was collaborating with ISI and passing on sensitive information. He is illiterate; he dropped out of school in sixth standard. He could not even read or write in Hindi; only knew some basic Urdu,” Parvez’s sister Shabnam said — a fact confirmed by a senior police officer.
Parvez bought a smartphone a year ago but did not know how to install apps, send messages, or even use a password, his family claimed. “I taught him how to open apps. He does not know how to write, so I installed a voice messaging app for him,” said his 10-year-old nephew.
Delhi Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak said the case is being investigated from all angles. “We are looking into his links with the ISI,” he added.