India apologizes for deporting Pakistani human rights activist
India has apologized to Pakistani human rights activist and former minister Ansar Burney who was deported to Dubai by Indian immigration officials, dpa reported.
Burney, who was human rights minister in the interim government in Pakistan, was deported from the Delhi airport on Friday as officials had acted on an old "look-out notice" against him.
A look-out notice is issued in criminal cases and served at entry and exit points in the country. Burney, who was due to participate in a meeting against terrorism, had arrived in the city from London via Dubai.
Some media outlets quoting officials reported the incident had nothing to do with the notice but that Burney was denied entry as he was not carrying valid travel documents.
The Times of India daily reported that the Indian government had termed the episode "unfortunate" and blamed it on "inadequate documentation."
"The inconvenience caused to Mr Burney is unfortunate and regrettable and he is always welcome to visit India," said the apology conveyed by a senior foreign ministry official to Burney by telephone.
However, Burney who is in London, was unmoved and told the Times that the statement was in "bad taste" as the Indian government should have come out with the truth.
"I was deported and even made to sign papers regarding this. This is not fair. At least the government should have come out with the truth now," Burney said.
"These were the very same (travel) documents that took me to India only six weeks back," he added.
The incident has come as an embarrassment for the Indian establishment as the Pakistani activist has been instrumental in helping New Delhi secure the release of Indian nationals from Pakistani jails.
Burney, an advisory member of the United Nations Peace Council, played a key role in the release of Indian death row prisoner Kashmir Singh who had languished in Pakistani prisons for 35 years.
He was also working for the release of alleged Indian spy Sarabjit Singh, sentenced to death in connection with 1990 bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad that claimed 14 lives.