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Mother-daughter duo jailed in India to be repatriated

Updated Mar 19, 2017 08:34am


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ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Saturday green-lighted the repatriation of a woman and her daughter who have been languishing in a jail in India-held Kashmir for around five years.

Robina, who claims to be a native of Hyderabad in Sindh, supposedly went to New Delhi along with her husband and four-month-old daughter in 2012. While in India, her husband disappeared with her passport, identification papers and all the money, leaving behind Robina and her daughter.

According to media reports, locals took pity on the helpless woman and gave her enough money to travel to the border crossing at Wagah. However, since she did not have identity papers, she was not allowed to return to the country.

Nisar orders interior ministry to bring Robina to Pakistan on ‘humanitarian grounds’

After being turned away at Attari, Robina was advised to try and cross over into Pakistan from India-held Kashmir, where she was arrested by security forces in Nov 2012.

Her plight was brought to light by human rights activist and lawyer Mir Shafaqat, who met her by accident while visiting the Kot Bhalwal jail in 2014.

In 2014, an Indian court ordered Robina’s deportation, but it could not be carried out. Indian authorities had informed the court that the Pakistani High Commission had not verified her nationality and since then Robina has been in limbo.

At the beginning of this year, media reports on the plight of Robina attracted attention of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who directed the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports to verify her nationality within 48 hours. But, this was not possible on the basis of the information available.

Sources say that none of Robina’s family members were available at the address provided by her.

They said Robina’s mother and father might have passed away and her other relatives could not be traced from the Nadra database.

The interior minister then directed the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi to urge Indian government to extend consular access to Robina and obtain from her further details about her relatives in Pakistan.

But with little progress made over the next two months, the interior minister finally decided to allow the repatriation of Robina and her daughter as a special case, taking into account the agony that the woman and the little girl had undergone.

The minister on Saturday ordered the authorities concerned to make arrangements for her expeditious repatriation on humanitarian grounds.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2017


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Comments (24) Closed

kaleem Mar 19, 2017 09:07am

Very late response,Ch. Nisar ! You are not performing your duties properly,like other although your are capable,its better to give charge to someone capable as Pakistan is at crucial stage at the moment.

Imtiaz Mar 19, 2017 09:10am

wth the high commission is doing then

guagua Mar 19, 2017 09:11am

Robina should have been advised by Pakistani border officials to contact the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi, instead of advising her to try the Kashmir border for crossing back! Does Robina have Mosque records or education records (if she went to school)? What about any hospital records, uncles and aunts, etc? Five years in limbo?Unacceptable!

Unique Mar 19, 2017 09:55am

Why Indian authorities put Robina and her daughter in jail, instead of home, for displaced women? Secondly the Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, instead of expediting, it works at a tortoise pace.

Arun-KS Mar 19, 2017 10:09am

They must be sent to their native country with full dignity & due respect, if they are innocent.

bk Mar 19, 2017 10:40am

Its her husband who should be put in jail.

Samir,India Mar 19, 2017 10:48am

Innocents will not be punished rest assured.

SHAIKH MUHAMAD WAIZ Mar 19, 2017 11:02am

May GOD showers His Blessings upon Honourable Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ahmed for his decision.

Sensible neighbor Mar 19, 2017 11:08am

Shame on Pakistani govt. Could not they have identified her with her NADRA information with her finger prints????

PrakashG Mar 19, 2017 11:28am

Isn't this job of the Pakistan embassy in India to replace a lost passport?

AhMAd Mar 19, 2017 12:20pm

@Arun-KS Its Pakistani govt's fault which made this lady and her daughter to suffer. How can it take 5 years to find out if she is Pakistani or not? Even Pakistani officials are still not able to confirm it. Shame on govt.

AK Mar 19, 2017 12:52pm

Since Partition millions of innocent people are affected. One people One Country would have avoided such sufferings of ordinary people.

Sugarush Mar 19, 2017 12:50pm

'Pakistani High Commission had not verified her nationality'. So issue with the Pakistan High Commission - what is Mr Basit doing, other than giving speeches?

timetostopthis Mar 19, 2017 12:56pm

What kind of records do they maintain in Pakistan that they cannot identify their own citizens and let them rot in foreign countries like this? The husband should be arrested and thrown in jail for abandoning them in a foreign country.

abdul Mar 19, 2017 12:57pm

after 5 years ?

imran ali Mar 19, 2017 02:40pm

this is his first good decision..

mywahala Mar 19, 2017 02:53pm

same story, different name. otherwise, sos.

mywahala Mar 19, 2017 02:53pm

@abdul i dont know anyone in prison for 5 years..another fake.

R S Chakravarti Mar 19, 2017 04:41pm

@timetostopthis It is presumably not easy to find her husband.

Ramadosa Mar 20, 2017 12:43am

@Unique : Foreigners, esp ones with not ID's are detained in legal custody. Learn about Australian methods! Pakistani High Commission could have offered Robina and her daughter sanctuary at its premises. A simple exploratory investigation would have revealed her precedents form language, home landmarks, ex-husband's family roots and her own.... Some of these officers get paid for nothing!

Ramadosa Mar 20, 2017 12:39am

@bk : If they can find him!

Iftikhar Husain Mar 20, 2017 05:51pm

A very sad case of total ignorance the HC should have helped her in the first case.

Asif A Shah Mar 21, 2017 02:29pm

Dear Chaudhry Nisar! No matter what your political opponents say about you, you have earned some respect from me by taking special notice of this unfortunate case. Keep up the good work! In the end, your noble actions would silence your critics.

D.K. PAMNANI Mar 21, 2017 03:22pm

It was reported to Pakistani authorities well in time.