A Pakistani national was deported soon after he landed at the Chandigarh International Airport on Thursday morning for not fulfilling “immigration conditions”.
Shaban Khalid, president of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs Asia, had arrived in an IndiGo flight from Abu Dhabi.
He was to participate in a two-day-long meeting called the Young Thinkers’ Conference, organised by the British Deputy High Commission, at Indian School of Business (ISB), Mohali. The programme provided by the High Commission had him down for a session on Friday morning on whether economic considerations get reflected in foreign policy.
On Thursday morning, after Khalid arrived at Chandigarh airport, he was informed that Pakistani nationals are only allowed to enter the country through Delhi and Mumbai if they are flying in, according to immigration officials.
Khalid claimed that he was travelling on a SAARC visa which was not city-specific. “At the Dubai airport, I was allowed to board the flight to Chandigarh without any problem. When I arrived in Chandigarh, I was told that I can enter through only a few cities. Based on that interpretation of city specific, I was told to go back. I came back to Dubai in the IndiGo flight later in the evening,” Khalid told Chandigarh Newsline over the phone. “I was coming from London and boarded the flight to Chandigarh from Dubai.”
He said that the immigration officials were nice to him and he was not harassed. “I am only disappointed because I wanted to attend the programme on Friday. I wanted to be there, especially at a time when there is such high tension between the two countries. I wanted to express my bit which is the public sentiment of Pakistan people that we want cordial relations with our neighbours,” he said.
He also said that the SAARC visa on which he was travelling had no restrictions to arrive in any specific city.
However, Chandigarh Airport CEO Sunil Dutt said that he was not aware of the incident.