As the Federal Court convenes today to decide whether to return Mohamed Haneef’s Australian work visa, it’s worth asking how the death of his second cousin Kafeel Ahmed on Friday morning in Glasgow will affect investigations by the police authorities, both in UK and Australia, into the two recent failed blast attempts in London.
Having suffered 92% burn injuries, the chances of Ahmed’s survival appeared to be quite grim and the British police were finding it difficult to make any headway in the investigation for want of his interrogation as he was battling for his life. But had Kafeel survived, not only would his and his brother Sabeel’s role in the whole affair been unearthed, but it could also have thrown a huge light on any involvement he had with his cousin Haneef, whose SIM card is believed to have been used by Kafeel to camouflage his identity.
Kafeel’s death might bring the entire investigation to a screeching halt. One wonders what the Australian authorities will do now with regard to Dr Haneef, who’s intent on taking on Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews over the restoration of his visa.
Though Mr Andrews has selectively released the chat room conversation of Dr Haneef with his cousins in UK, (without releasing the entire transcripts with it to him or his lawyer), it seems Australian authorities were pinning their hopes on the outcome of the interrogation of Kafeel Ahmed once he recovered.
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The Indian government has shown extraordinary interest in the Haneef case because this is the first instance where the names of Indian Muslims have been linked to a terrorist incident away from India.
The Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who, at the behest of his Congress party and to appease the Indian Muslim community, had declared his intention to repeal India’s anti-terror law, POTA, (much against the spirit of UN Resolution No. 1373, passed in the aftermath of 9/11 and which calls on countries to take strong measures against terrorist activity), has expressed his sympathy to Dr Haneef’s parents and expressed his concern over the sleepless nights they spent.
Dr Singh’s sympathetic reaction to Dr Haneef and his family is designed partly to court the Muslim vote, something his Congress Party has been doing ever since Independence in 1947. But many in India believe that Prime Minister Singh has overreacted after Dr Haneef’s detention in Australia without fully ascertaining the details of the entire case.