Branded Indian spy, Kanpur man returns home after 28 years in Pakistan

Shamsuddin, 70, finally made it back to Kanpur and his family after 28 years in Pakistan. He spent eight of these years in a Pakistan prison after being branded an Indian spy but was later acquitted of the charge. His return set off Diwali- like celebrations in the congested Kanghi Mohal here.

Shamsuddin was quarantined in Amritsar after he was released from a Pakistan jail on October 26. A police team brought him to Kanpur on Monday afternoon and he was handed over to his family after brief questioning, circle officer (Sisamau) Tripurari Pandey said.

As he stepped into the narrow lane, his sister Shabeena fainted. His daughters Azra and Uzma cried on seeing him after a long time. There were hundreds to welcome Shamsuddin, who was choked with emotion.

“I suffered a lot in that prison; my freedom is the best Diwali gift I could ask for,” he said. A shoemaker by profession, Shamsuddin had left India in 1992 after a tiff with some relatives and went to Pakistan on a 90-day visa.

After sometime, he sent his family back to Kanpur and stayed on in Pakistan. In 2012, he was arrested allegedly for being an Indian spy and then spent eight years in a Pakistan prison. He was exonerated of the charge and released from Ladi jail in Karachi on October 26.

He entered India via the Attari border, but since the rules required him to complete 14-day quarantine, he was kept in Amritsar.

After completing all the formalities, the UP police team reached Amritsar on November 14 and brought him back on Monday morning.

“My country is the best; the Muhajirs (Indian immigrants) are not treated well (in Pakistan). I made a huge mistake by going there. The Indians are like enemies to them,” he said.

On his return, the policemen gave him a piece of a sweet and put a garland around his neck. He started sobbing and said this was the most memorable Diwali for him. His sister Shabeena said the prayers of the family were finally answered and everyone was elated to have him back.

His brother Fahim thanked the Indian government for help. The family, he said, had lost all hope of seeing him ever again at one stage. His two daughters, who were three and four years old when they last saw him, did not leave their father’s side after their return. His wife, who has not been keeping well, could not stop crying.

“I cannot explain what I am feeling on seeing him alive. I am going to take such care of him that he forgets all the suffering he underwent,” said Azra.

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