New Delhi, Feb 14: Pakistan's foreign ministry called on Monday for the release of popular Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan detained at Delhi airport for carrying $124,000, a much larger amount than is permissible under local law.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was taken into custody at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday while trying to fly to the United Arab Emirates. He was found carrying $124,000 that he did not declare to customs authorities, it said.
Indian law requires foreigners to declare all money they are carrying in excess of $5,000 in cash and another $5,000 in traveler's checks.
Khan is quite popular in India, holding concerts in the country and singing in Bollywood movies. He is a nephew of late legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
India has not officially commented on Khan's detention, while Pakistan has called for his release.
"He should be allowed to go to his hotel and whatever investigation should go on. The Pakistani foreign secretary and the high commissioner in New Delhi have both made formal appeals for Khan's release," Abdul Basit, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, said in Islamabad.
Basit said Pakistani officials had not yet been allowed to visit Khan. He said 12 people traveling with Khan had been released, but two other members of Khan's entourage remained in custody.
Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has contacted the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad to discuss Khan's case, Geo News channel reported.
The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi has set up a special team to liaise with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which has detained Khan, the channel reported. There was no official word from the Foreign Office or the Indian High Commission on the matter.