The Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants have appealed the Government of India (GoI) to allow them to meet their relatives in Pakistan by providing them travel documents.
Scores of women who came back in response to the Jammu and Kashmir Government’s rehabilitation policy on Saturday addressed a press conference, demanding citizenship rights and travel documents.
During a press conference one of the women while questioning the government said, “It has given rights to Tibetan refugees, then why doesn’t the same apply to us. The state government’s rehabilitation policy was announced in 2010, with the promise of rehabilitation, citizenship and essential documents.”
According to the estimates, nearly 400 families returned to India from various parts of Pakistan between 2012 and 2015, with the government promising them education, employment and financial assistance.
“It has been more than seven years since we last saw our relatives in Pakistan. In 2010 and 2012 we moved to Indian-administered Kashmir with our Kashmiri husbands, with the hope that the rehabilitation policy for former militants announced by the government at the time led by Omar Abdullah in 2010 would pave the way for a better life,” the protesting women (from Pakistan) said.
“We all regret the decision of coming to India now,” one of the women admitted. “I along with my husband was arrested when we entered Kashmir in 2012. I spent three months behind bars for entering India without valid documents, and my husband more than six months,” she said adding that the authorities seized all her documents, forcing her to live in India effectively a ‘stateless’ citizen.
“We should have been given Indian citizenship by virtue of being the wives of Indians, but we have nothing and we want to return to Pakistan. We request the government to make possible our return to our home country,” she added.
Recently, scores of Pakistani women, all wives of former militants, protested in the streets of Srinagar demanding the return of their passports and permission to leave India but nothing has happened so far.
In an emotional appeal they requested the Gol and Governor of Satyapal Malik to take serious note of their rehabilitation and provide them essential travel documents.