Home affairs releases some info on Rashid

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula released some information on Tuesday - pursuant to a court order - about the deportation of Pakistani national Khalid Mahmood Rashid.

Rashid's attorney Zehir Omar would now consider whether the information was sufficient.

In a fax sent to Omar's office in Pretoria, Nqakula's department admitted that Rashid was in fact deported from the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

On Monday night Pretoria High Court Judge Justice Poswa said he had reached the end of his tether with Mapisa-Nqakula and ordered her to comply with an order he made in May to give the information.

That order required Mapisa-Nqakula and her department to state which Pakistani authorities received Rashid when he was deported, the flight number of the aircraft he flew in, and the place where the aircraft landed.

The minister had until May 28 to supply the information but instead of complying, the department noted its intention to ask for leave to appeal against the order.

Omar brought an application on Friday that the minister be compelled to comply with the order notwithstanding the intended appeal.

On Monday Poswa ruled that his order had to be complied with, and as a matter of courtesy gave the minister until noon on Tuesday to do so.

The State attorney sent a written answer to Omar on Tuesday, in which he said that the State could not provide a flight number or the place where the plane landed.

He gave the aircraft registration number and the names of Pakistani officials who received Rashid, and for the first time admitted that the plane took off from Waterkloof Air Force Base, and not from an airport.

"I challenge the minister to name any other persons who was deported from the Waterkloof Military Base," Omar said, claiming that Rashid had been kidnapped.

He said he was considering taking further court action to try to establish Rashid's whereabouts.

Rashid disappeared at the end of last year from Estcourt where he was picked up in a night raid on his home for allegedly being an illegal immigrant.

His arrest was contested in court but home affairs officials said Rashid was deported to Pakistan within days after his arrest. There were however fears in the Muslim community that Rashid may have been taken to an international detention centre.

Omar then applied to the court for an order that the department give details about Rashid's whereabouts.

The order was granted and earlier this year the department responded in legal papers that he was deported to Pakistan, and since he was outside South Africa they could not give further information.

Omar again approached the Pretoria High Court to get detailed information about his deportation.

"Rashid was a victim of abduction, why did it took a pain staking effort; no less than three court orders to answer the questions," Omar asked on Tuesday. - Sapa

sign up