Ontario man says U.S. wrongly put him on no-fly list
Omer Qureshi says he was not allowed to board flight to Pakistan last weekend
A Whitby, Ont., business owner is growing frustrated about his inability to fly overseas to visit family, which he says is a result of his name wrongly appearing on the U.S. no-fly list.
Omer Qureshi was supposed to catch a flight to visit family in Pakistan last Saturday, but was to find out he wouldn't be allowed to go.
It was the second time in a year that he had been barred from flying overseas.
The first occasion was last year, when he learned he had been put on the U.S. no-fly list.
Qureshi said he applied for redress and was told that he should be cleared to fly.
He bought another ticket and was stopped from travelling again.
"If you do something, I can understand that part. But if you are an innocent person and you don’t do anything, like, why should you be trapped like that?" Qureshi said during an interview with CBC News about his predicament.
Qureshi says he has never had problems with the law, though he has an idea of why he may be having issues.
In 2012, Qureshi said he was paid a visit by CSIS and the RCMP, who told him that he had been investigated and cleared.
Someone had claimed that Quershi had been planning a bomb attack, but it wasn't true.
He suspects that a rival businessman made the unfounded claim. But under Canadian law, all of your personal information — including unfounded accusations — can be handed over to the U.S.
Civil rights lawyers say more and more Canadians are being affected. They blame Bill C-42, a Canadian law that passed in March of last year.
"We were opposed to Bill C-42 because we didn’t like the idea of Canadian airlines sending their passenger lists to the U.S., for the U.S. to decide whether or not people can board planes in Canada," said Sukanya Pillay of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
It appears that’s what happened to Qureshi.
Qureshi questions why the U.S. is allowed to decide the fate of Canadians.
"We are the Canadian people, right? Why is the U.S. controlling us?" he said.
Qureshi said he has read online about many people who are stuck in the same situation that he is.