Despite a local court’s order allowing bail two days ago, 72-year-old Pakistani Iqbal is continuing to serve time in Aligarh jail. The reason: Jail administration does not know who to hand him over to.
“Two days ago, I received Iqbal’s release order from a local court. Since Iqbal is a foreign national and needed to be handed over in custody, I requested SSP Aligarh ons Saturday for directions. So far, I have not received any direction. On Monday, I will move court with the same prayer. I will also inform court about Iqbal’s nationality if the police had not apprised the court of this,” said Aligarh Jail Superintendent Alok Singh.
According to jail sources, Iqbal has been lodged in the Aligarh jail since 2012, with a trial pending in a drugs case. He had two other drugs cases against him, he was sentenced to five years’ in jail in a 2001 case and acquitted in a 2007 case.
According to police, Iqbal had been staying in India on “long term visa” since he arrived with his mother Bundo Begum and elder brother Anwar in 1955. While Bundo Begum received Indian citizenship in 1968, she died two years later. The two brothers had been in Aligarh since and their “long term visa” was renewed every year.
After 1990, Anwar had gone missing and is yet to be traced. After failing to appear befor the local police intelligence station for extension of his visa, police began a search for Iqbal in 2007. He was lodged in jail following his arrest for possessing drugs.
“As per record available with jail, Iqbal had told Aligarh police after his arrest in 2001 that he was resident of Sasanigate area of Aligarh. In 2016, we received a letter from then SSP Aligarh stating that during inquiry police found Iqbal is native of Karachi in Pakistan,” said Jail Superintendent Alok Singh.