| Haneef in Bangalore. Telegraph picture
Bangalore/Melbourne, July 30: Mohammed Haneef today said he wanted Canberra to say sorry to India, if not specifically to him, after the Australian Prime Minister ruled out an apology to the Indian doctor.
“I don’t expect an apology from the Australian government or the authorities but I would appreciate it if they apologise to my peace-loving country and citizens,” the 27-year-old, who flew back to Bangalore yesterday after Australian police dropped terror charges against him, told a news conference.
Earlier, Prime Minister John Howard had said in Sydney that “Australia will not be apologising to Dr Haneef”.
Haneef, detained for 25 days in Brisbane in a case that the authorities later admitted did not stand, said: “I am not a victim of (an) international conspiracy, but (an) Australian conspiracy. My family suffered a great deal.”
Asked if he had been victimised because he was an Asian Muslim, he replied: “There might be an element of truth in it... I suspect.”
But Howard said: “Dr Haneef was not victimised and Australia’s international reputation has not been harmed by this misstart to its new anti-terrorism laws.”
Haneef would not say if he would sue the Australian government. “I have not sought legal advice on this. That will be later on,” he said. “(But) I would like to return. I want the visa back. I will fight for that.”
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, who has said Haneef’s job would wait for him, today appealed to overseas doctors not to avoid Australia following Haneef’s ordeal.
The Indian said he had no idea why Australian immigration minister Kevin Andrews had cancelled his work visa. “I would like him to come forward and let out the facts.”
Andrews is expected to reveal some of the secret information based on which he took the decision, an Australian news channel said.
Asked if he might accept an Indian job, Haneef said he had kept all options open.