19 Dec 2008, 0927 hrs IST, IANS

KATHMANDU: Records at Nepal’s apex court have proved as false Pakistani lawyer Chaudhary Muhammad Farooq’s claim that Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone
surviving Mumbai attacker, was arrested in Nepal two years ago. The incident has raised questions about the lawyer’s actual identity and intent.

According to Nepal’s Supreme Court, Farooq, who described himself as a high court lawyer, filed a habeas corpus writ on Feb 24, asking the police to produce in court two Pakistanis who had been arrested from a hotel in the capital two years ago.

In his petition, Farooq gave the two men’s names as Asif Ali, a 22-year-old from Islamabad, and Walid Sajjid, a 23-year-old from Faisalabad.

The two judges hearing the petition, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Rajendra Prasad Koirala, asked Nepal’s police to furnish an explanation.

Nepal’s police did so, saying that Farooq’s contention that the two men were being held illegally was not true. After that, Farooq never turned up at the court to pursue the case further.

Consequently, on March 14, the judges dismissed the petition in accordance with Nepal’s laws as the petitioner was absconding.

Nine months after the dismissal, Farooq resurfaced in Pakistan. He told the country’s media that Kasab had been unlawfully arrested in Nepal and he had filed a petition to free the young man after being approached by Kasab’s parents.

Farooq also said that the two Pakistanis who had been arrested in Nepal had come with bona fide travel documents.

If the documents were genuine, then Asif Ali and Walid Sajjad could not have been Kasab, who was arrested by Indian security forces last month during the Mumbai terror attacks and says he is from Faridkot.

Also, while the Pakistani lawyer claimed that he had named the Indian high commission as a respondent in his petition, it was only against Nepal’s government and the Nepali home ministry.

Finally, there is the mystery about Farooq’s disappearance from Nepal without following up on the petition.

Nepali lawyers still remember the noise made by Farooq who strutted from court to human rights organisations and vowed to leave no stone unturned for the release of the two men in Pakistan.

Why did Farooq remain out of sight till the Mumbai attacks?

He had appointed two Nepali lawyers to help him with the case. However, neither received any further instruction from him.

In his interview to the Pakistani media this week, Farooq had claimed that the case was still going on and that he would arrive in Kathmandu this month to attend the hearing.