No Relief to Rahat !

R.D. Bhardwaj “Noorpuri”

It is really very intriguing to note as to how a Pakistani singer – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, was carrying US $ 1,42,600 , much above the permissible limits of US $ 5,000. He is a nephew of famous Pakistani singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and has also sung a number of songs in Hindi films as well. Significant amount of diplomatic pressure is being exercised from across the border to give him the desired amount of relief. Pakistani media is also building up huge pressure on its Govt. to get him out of the difficult situation. But then, we should not forget that he has violated Foreign Exchange Management Act and carried illegal foreign currency, amounting to around Rs. 64 lakhs. It is also gathered that the singer in question was being paid black money and the source of this huge black money also needs to be further probed. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was not aware of the Indian rules about foreign exchange management, as he has been visiting India for the last 6/7 years. Had some Indian artist in the similar circumstances been caught up in Pakistan, I am sure they would not have succumbed to the Indian pressure to release him unpunished according to their law.

One more aspect, which requires to be looked into seriously – is that there are around 60 prisoners of war in Pakistani jails since 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. One more Indian citizen, Sarabjit Singh, who is also languishing in Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan since 1991 and is falsely implicated in anti-terrorist acts. Innumerable attempts made by Human Rights activists from India and abroad, from time to time to secure the release of Indian citizens from foreign jails have failed since then. Sarabjit Singh has maintained his innocence from the outset. He continues to maintain that he is a farmer from a village near Amritsar in the Punjab, married with two daughters, both of whom were toddlers at the time of his arrest. The original mercy petition was filed by his lawyer was rejected by the then President, Pervaiz Musharaf and subsequently also by the current President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari.

But, now our Govt. should take a firm stand that the Pakistani singer shall not be cleared of the case and released unless all Indian prisoners of war and Sarabjit Singh is also freed from Pakistani jails and they return home safe and sound. Indian Govt. should also exert maximum diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and negotiate vigorously to get our people back and help them to unite with their family members who are yearning to see their dear ones since ages.