Islamabad, Feb 23: Pakistani singer Rahat Fatah Ali Khan, who was briefly detained in India for possessing undeclared foreign currency, today said he will visit the country again if "respectfully" invited, even as he admitted guilt and claimed he was 'unaware' of Indian custom laws.
Rahat,37, dismissed the impression that he was made a target in India.
Khan who returned to Pakistan today following a brief detention in India on charges of possessing undeclared foreign currency, said he would travel to India again if he was invited in an honourable manner.
He admitted that he was guilty of the charges leveled against him but said at the same time that he was not aware of Indian laws regarding the possession of foreign currency. Asked if he would visit India again, Khan replied: "I will go to India if they respectfully call me."
Khan made the remarks while talking to the media after his return. He said his detention was due to the lack of knowledge about Indian custom laws. The nephew of late qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan thanked Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan's High Commission in India Shahid Malik for helping in his release.
Asked if he would visit India again, Khan said he would travel to the country if he was invited with respect. Replying to another question, he dismissed the impression that he was made a target in India.
He dismissed the impression that he was made a target in India like Adnan Sami, another singer of Pakistani origin.
The 37-year-old singer was detained at Indira Gandhi International Airport yesterday on the charge that he was carrying USD 124,000 that he had not declared. Rahat and his entire troupe, numbering around 16, including his manager Maroof and event manager were detained and their interrogation were underway tonight several hours after they were held by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials.
He won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer this year for 'Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji' from the movie 'Ishqiya'.
The Foreign Currency was not declared to Customs officials after the immigration checks. The troupe was on in its way to Lahore via Dubai by an Emirates flight. The recovered foreign currency included USD 10,000 and USD 8,600 in demand drafts and some Traveller Cheques.
Rahat on February 19 was slapped with charges under FEMA and Customs Act in connection with recovery of huge undeclared foreign currency.
Rahat and his manager Maroof each paid Rs 15 lakh today by way of penalty slapped on them in connection with the huge amount of undeclared foreign currency recovered from them.
The amount was paid to the Indian Customs department after the matter was adjudicated. The undeclared foreign currency however remains confiscated.
Pakistan had asked India to immediately release Khan, detained in New Delhi. Pakistan Foreign Office was closely monitoring Khan's case and the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi had set up a special team to liaise with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which had detained the singer.
As per norms, a foreign national cannot carry beyond USD 5,000 USD in cash and 5,000 USD in other instruments. The person has to declare the amount if he is carrying more than this to the Customs Department. PTI