Karachi-bound student Zia Hussain Syed, a student of University of Chicago, discovered that his entry back to the US had been blocked when he got to the airport on January 4, where he was unexpectedly stopped at the Karachi airport.
The officials didn’t let him pass and said “We cannot let you go,” they also said that they had received a confidential email instructing them not to let him pass.
Shah while talking about the incident, said:
“I had just returned with one suitcase not knowing this will happen. All my documents, souvenirs are there,” he said, while he added and said that he is also learning to cope with living without all his belongings.
Soon after this incident, Trump’s administration had announced to ban seven Muslim countries, excluding Pakistan. It is still unclear why Shah’s entry was barred.
He said that he had returned to Karachi in December last year for winter vacations, after completing his first semester at the University of Chicago. But he had not idea that within a month his life would change, and that too, this drastically.
Syed has been pursing his career in Islamic Studies from University of Chicago. He has also taken courses and learned Persian and Arabic, and also focusing on Early Islamic Mysticism.
He is also a co-founder of Ravvish, a project that endeavors to build peace between different religions.
While discussing this matter, Syed said that in his university, students had to write reflection papers but he did not follow the practice, however, his friends encouraged him to start writing reflections papers again.
“When I opened my reflection paper, I found the word ‘Patience’ written on it,” The word was enough to remind him of the Sufi path he has chosen to take. A Sufi’s path is riddled with pain, he said.
“I don’t want to blame anyone or hold anyone responsible for this.”
However, through this incident he wants to raise awareness about the importance of speaking about the injustice.
em>“I want all the people who have dealt with injustice to raise their voice. One decision can have a lasting impact on others’ lives. Authorities with decision making powers should realise that one decision can affect someone’s life, career, family among others.”
As for his future plans, he is going to wait till September and apply for visa once again. However, if that does not pan out then he hopes to go to UK for further studies.
Sadly, many UK universities do not take transfer credits, he remarked, adding that he will again have to apply to universities from scratch.
“In the meantime, I have settled in Karachi at my family home and started working for The Citizens Foundation. I hope to start working with students and teachers in interior Sindh near my hometown in Thatta over the summers under Ravvish,” he shared in a Facebook post.
“There is still hope that things will sort out soon and I will continue my education. If not, indeed God’s plans are better than ours,” he added.