Provide Citizenship Rights Or Deport Us: Pak Wives Of Ex-Militants

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KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar- Pakistani origin wives of ‘surrendered’ Kashmiri militants Tuesday took out a protest march in Srinagar city accusing the authorities of depriving them of citizenship rights and barring them from visiting their native country, Pakistan.

The NC-Congress government had announced a ‘Rehabilitation Policy’ in 2010 in consultation with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs following the recommendations of a Working Group constituted by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 2006.

Only one in 10 youth who crossed over to Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) for arms training returned utilising the policy.

The former militants returned along with their wives and children. Ever since their return, the brides are alleging that they are being treated as second-class citizens.

Scores of these former militants along with their wives and children protested in Press Enclave Srinagar, breaking police cordon and marched in the heart of Srinagar city. Though police tried to pacify them, yet these men, women and children created uproar, raised slogans to seek justice.

“We haven’t committed any crime but married to men from Kashmir. Neither we have been given any citizenship right nor are we being deported to our native lands. We are desperate to meet our families. We have a human heart and can’t live without our parents,” said a protesting woman Taiba from Karachi.

The protesting women cited the examples of international Tennis star Sania Mirza and singer Adnan Sami. “Adnan Sami was given Indian citizenship despite being a native of Pakistan while Sania Mirza married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar and still she represents India at International level. Why this hypocrisy in our case?” they asked.

As per the official record, 489 youth, out of 4,587 who had crossed over to Pakistan, have returned via the Nepal route.

After settling here, the Pakistani women started alleging that they are not being counted anywhere. “We don’t get Aadhar Cards, Ration Cards, Voter Identity Cards, and even we face difficulties in getting our children admitted in any educational institutions. Our demands are very simple, either accept us or send us back to our native areas,” the protesting women said.

Due to protests, traffic was disrupted for some time. Top police and civil officials rushed to the spot. A bus was arranged for them and they were taken to Divisional Commissioners Office where officials assured them that matter will be taken up with higher authorities. (KNT)

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