"Former" terrorist Parminder Singh Saini has completed his undergraduate and legal education here in Canada and now seeks the permission of the Law Society of Upper Canada to practice Law in Ontario.
Saini was convicted as a terrorist by a Pakistani court after he and his associates from the All India Sikh Students Federation hijacked an Air India flight to Delhi, forcing it to land in Lahore, Pakistan instead. Saini discharged a firearm in the commission of the offence, and his compatriots injured crew members with their kirpans. Sentenced initially to death by hanging, he was released after serving 10 years. Saini then entered Canada on a false Afghan passport and successfully claimed refugee status. CSIS detected the fraud within a year and Saini's status in this country has been, in essence, in limbo for over 14 years. (see this National Post article
discussing the decision by the Supreme Court not to hear Saini's appeal in 2002).
I put the word "former" in quotations because the pardon Mr. Saini has received in Pakistan was not accepted as equivalent to a Canadian pardon by the Federal Court of Appeal (see Canada (MCI) v. Saini 2001 FCA 311
As the Toronto Star article
notes, few can doubt Mr. Saini's perseverance. Despite the fact that his own immigration status in Canada is tenuous (see Saini v. Canada (MCI) 2003 FCT 154
which appears to be the most recent Federal Court review discussing Mr. Saini), Saini has been fighting the deportation order and finding that he is a danger to the Canadian public for years.
Saini's situation is perhaps reminiscent of Maurice Sychuk's efforts to be reinstated to the practice of law (see CBC article here
and the LSA Advisory indicating that the application was denied is here
). At the end of the day, I suspect Mr. Saini's application will be refused not necessarily because he cannot show himself to be rehabilitated, but because his admission to the practice of law would undermine the legal profession as a whole. Lawtimes article here
. As of today's date, the comments are not in support of admitting Saini to the profession.
January 26, 2010
Update. Saini was deported from Canada this week
after the Federal Court ruled against him on Monday. Escorted by CBSA officers, Saini (who was refused admission to the Bar by the LSUC) has returned to his country of nationality.