Pakistani wives of ex-terrorists demand Indian citizenship or deportation

WION Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir May 10, 2019, 11.47 AM(IST) Written By: Ieshan Bashir Wani

In 2010, the former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had announced a rehabilitation policy for those who crossed over between 1989 to 2009 which saw several Kashmiris returning back. Photograph:( WION )

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Hailing from different parts of Pakistan, these women landed in India with their families through Nepal under a policy for Kashmiris who crossed LoC for arms training. 

They are in hundreds, accompanied by their kids, seeking help from Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan. The Pakistani wives of Kashmiris who crossed over the Line of Control(LoC) to pick arms and returned to India under a rehabilitation scheme feel stuck now.

Hundreds of them are demanding to either grant them Indian citizenship so that they can travel or deport them back to Pakistan. 

Hailing from different parts of Pakistan, these women landed in India with their families through Nepal under a policy for Kashmiris who crossed LoC for arms training. The policy was later discontinued by the Centre in 2016.

They allege the authorities denied them travel to visit their families in Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir(POK), even some of them have been divorced by their Kashmiri husbands, leaving them with no option. Some even face domestic abuse.

"We are at least 300 to 350 women here. We haven't been able to return back or visit our families there. Some have committed suicide due to depression. We haven't been able to travel back, even today, my sister is getting married and I am here, protesting," says Toiba, a resident of Abbottabad.

In 2010, the former chief minister Omar Abdullah had announced a rehabilitation policy for those who crossed over between 1989 to 2009 which saw several Kashmiris returning back. These women say that they don't have any identity living in the valley. 

Nabeela hails from Abbottabad district in eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She married a Kashmiri boy in 2008, and as soon as the rehabilitation policy was announced, her husband along with her three children, decided to return home but all didn't go well. 

She says her documents were seized in Nepal by the Indian authorities and since then she is living without any identity. Nabeela left her then one-year-old daughter behind due to issues with her travel documents. Her daughter, now nine, frequently asks them about their reunion. 

"We aren't state subjects, we don't have a local identity card. My three kids ask me regularly when will we go to Pakistan to meet my grandmother? I have left my nine-year-old daughter in Pakistan due to some document issue," says Nabeela while holding her daughter. 

The government, however, says these women came through Bangladesh and Nepal and not by the approved routes, hence making them ineligible for benefits under the policy.