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Home » J&K’s Pak brides demand visit to their parental homes | India News

J&K’s Pak brides demand visit to their parental homes | India News

SRINAGAR: A decade ago, Abbottabad resident Toiba Bano married a Kashmiri terrorist, who had crossed over to Pakistan for arms training. Now in Kashmir, after her husband made the best of the state government’s rehabilitation policy, Bano is one among 350-odd women from either PoK or Pakistan wanting to visit their parents’ homes across the border.
In 2010, the J&K government led by Omar Abdullah had announced the rehabilitation policy for former Kashmiri terrorists, who had crossed over to Pakistan between 1989 and 2009 for arms training.
The Government of India, in consultation with the J&K government, had designated four points — Wagah-Attari, Salambad, Chakan Da Bagh and the Delhi airport — for those who intended to return home with their families. The Nepal route was approved unofficially.
Hundreds of terrorists returned along with their families through the Nepal border till 2016 after which the policy was discontinued by the Centre.
Toiba, in her 30s, never thought that coming to her in-laws’ house in Baramulla would debar her from visiting her parents in Abbottabad. “I have an eight-year-old boy, who wants to visit his maternal grandparents in Pakistan, but the sealed borders don’t permit him to do that,” Toiba said at a press conference here this weekend. “He (the boy) insists I allow him to cross the LoC to meet his grandparents… I would be unable to stop him (from doing that) as he grows,” she added.
“We didn’t come on our own. We were invited to come and assured rehabilitation. But so far, nothing has been done. We should be given travel documents, if not an Indian passport so that we can visit our families. Many among us have lost their husbands. Some have been divorced,” Toiba said.
Several such Pakistani women had held a protest demonstration here last month and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to provide them travel documents or even spouse papers so that they can go to Pakistan and come back to J&K. They were carrying banners that read: “Hum Pakistani hai, hamain wapas bhej do (We are Pakistanis, send us back home).”
They said they have not been provided permanent resident certificates as promised by the then Omar government.
Another such Pakistani woman, Ashia Hassan, said: “We were invited here. We did not intrude. The government is not providing us with travel documents or any kind of other papers. We’re feeling caged here.”
She blamed police for having lodged FIRs against them. “We are treated like criminals. Many among us have become widows, with no one to take care of them,” she said.
“Allow us to return to Pakistan or provide us with the needed facilities to settle along with our husbands and children in Kashmir. We have no identity, no ration cards and no Aadhaar cards,” said Rawalpindi resident Saba Fayaz, who is married in Baramulla.
Kubra Geelani, who has been divorced by her ex-terrorist husband here, pleaded with authorities to allow her to go back to her hometown Muzaffarabad. “I was stopped at Wagah border and was not allowed to proceed towards my home,” she said.
“It is our right to have citizenship of the state. We should be made citizens here as is the case with women who marry men in any country. We appeal to the Government of India and the state government to either grant us citizenship or deport us,” another protester Zeba said.
Nageena Begum, who had similarly married one former Kashmiri terrorist some 11 years ago, said she has been spending sleepless nights as her eight-year-old daughter has been living in Pakistan for the last seven years.
“When I came here, she was only one-year-old. I had to keep her there as she was fond of her grandmother. Every day, she has been asking me to visit her,” she said.
Nageena said many of the Pakistani brides could not take part in the last rites of their dear ones because they were denied travel documents.
Toiba sought the intervention of PM Modi, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, J&K governor SP Malik and Pakistani premier Imran Khan to end their plight. She also appealed to the United Nations to take up their cause with India and Pakistan.

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