Canada bars entry to Indian Airlines hijacker

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Thursday, February 24, 2011

TORONTO - Canada has refused to re-admit the mastermind of the 1984 Indian Airline hijacking who was deported to India last year.

Parminder Singh Saini, 47, who was the leader of five Sikh militants who hijacked the Srinagar-Delhi flight to Lahore July 6, 1984, had filed a plea in a federal court Feb 3 to seek re-entry into Canada.

However, in its ruling Feb 9, the court dismissed Saini’s plea, deeming him a threat to public security, according to a report.

Saini, who took refuge in Canada in 1995, was put on the plane back to India in January last year.

He led the five militants in hijacking the Indian Airlines flight to Lahore, with 255 passengers.

The hijack drama ended after a 17-hour stand-off, with the hijackers surrendering to the Pakistani authorities.

After a trial in Pakistan, Saini was sentenced to death by a Lahore court. But the death sentence was commuted to life term. He was released after 10 years and asked to leave Pakistan.

In 1995, Saini entered Canada illegally under the name of Balbir Singh with a fake Afghan passport arranged by the Pakistanis. He maintained that he lied about his identity for fear of being deported to India.

After his arrival here, he earned a BA degree and a law degree even as he fought his deportation order.

Later, Saini applied to the Law Society of Upper Canada to be allowed to practice. But his application was turned down on grounds of his criminal background even as he regretted his past and said he deserves a shot at life in this country.

Referring to the 1984 hijacking, he had said, “I had no legitimate right to do that. It’s not legal.”

Based on his terrorist past and lying about his identify, the Law Society ruled that Saini has failed to prove that he is a man of good character and thus doesn’t deserve to practice in Canada.

Before his deportation, Saini was attached to his brother’s immigration consultancy firm Singh and Associates based in Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

Filed under: Terrorism

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