On Tuesday, Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn reported that two Indian men had arrived in the port city of Karachi, seeking political asylum from “religious persecution in India”.
Mohammad Hasnain and his 32-year-old son Ishaq Amir claimed they flew out of India to the United Arab Emirates and travelled from there to Afghanistan. They entered Pakistan from Afghanistan.
A day later, Mohammad Hasnain’s neighbours in Gautampuri, New Delhi, said they were “shocked” to know Hasnain and his son had gone over to Pakistan. “A shopkeeper told me that he had seen a video of them speaking with the media in Pakistan,” said Mohammad Azad, a tailor, who was Hasnain’s neighbour.
Hasanain moved to Delhi decades ago from his home in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, said Azad. He called Hasanain a “good man” who ran home tuitions for children at his apartment.
Till the end of August, Hasnain and his son lived in a two-room apartment on the second floor of a building in Gautampuri. “They had been living here for the last eight to nine months,” said Azad. Before shifting here, the father-son duo had been living in another lane in the same neighbourhood.
Azad said Hasnain handed over the keys of his room to him a few weeks ago and informed him that he was traveling to Dubai.
In Dawn, Hasnain was quoted as saying that “atrocities being inflicted on Muslims in India are not reported there”.
“Their way is that if a Muslim is caught over something, even while protesting, they bulldoze his home saying that it is built illegally,” he told the newspaper.
Hasnain’s neighbours said they do not know of incidents of harassment, attack or violence faced by him or his son.
“Most of the people who live in this lane are Muslim,” said 30-year-old Mohammad Hassan, another resident. “There are two Hindu families and we have a temple nearby. We live here peacefully.”