Arrested Pakistani journalist allowed to leave UAE for father’s funeral

A prominent Pakistani journalist arrested on charges of forging legal documents using his unconscious father’s thumb print, has been allowed to travel to Pakistan for his father’s funeral.

Dr Moeed Pirzada was arrested on August 4 for forging documents using his unconscious father’s thumb print. Paul J Richards / AFP
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ABU DHABI // A prominent Pakistani journalist arrested on charges of forging legal documents using his unconscious father’s thumb print, has been allowed to travel to Pakistan for his father’s funeral.

Abu Dhabi Police arrested Dr Moeed Pirzada and his sister on August 4, after security footage from the hospital where their ailing father was being treated showed them taking his thumb print as he lay unconscious.

Dr Pirzada’s sister lives in Abu Dhabi. Their father was visiting when he fell ill and was admitted to a government hospital.

He died on Monday and the court allowed Dr Pirzada to accompany his remains to Pakistan.

Family friends said that when Dr Pirzada and his sister realised their father was in a critical condition they wanted to get his thumb print, an accepted form of signature in Pakistan, on a few important documents.

They said the documents had nothing to do with the UAE, as the deceased had no liability or assets in the country.

“It all happened by mistake,” a friend said. “They took it very casually without realising it’s a major offence in this country.

“The family informed the hospital about it and initially, the hospital had no issue with it. But later they decided otherwise and complained.”

The Pakistani embassy in Abu Dhabi said the case was with prosecution, which would hear it in a week. “We are extending all the possible assistance within the legal domain,” an embassy spokesman said.

Dr Pirzada did not comment, as it “would not be appropriate” with the case still pending.

On Monday night he updated his Facebook and Twitter, writing: “My father breathed his last! He was a good man who loved his wife and children, and was dedicated to his patients! May Allah bless his soul. Amen!”

akhaishgi@thenational.ae