India returns septuagenarian farmer as goodwill gesture

Published March 10, 2019
Family members say the 70-year-old man was cutting fodder for buffaloes when he was arrested by Indian BSF.— Reuters/File
Family members say the 70-year-old man was cutting fodder for buffaloes when he was arrested by Indian BSF.— Reuters/File

SIALKOT: A 70-year-old man, who had mistakenly crossed the border while cutting fodder for buffaloes on Friday, was handed over to Pakistani authorities by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel as a goodwill gesture on Saturday.

According to the Punjab Rangers, the Indian BSF returned the farmer as a goodwill gesture during a meeting held at Lehri Post of Zafarwal sector on Saturday. Later, the Punjab Rangers reunited the old man with his family.

Muhammad Ashraf — son of Feroz Din and resident of Bhooee village in Zafarwal tehsil — was cutting fodder for his buffaloes when he mistakenly crossed the border and entered Samba sector of India on Friday. He was taken into custody by the Indian BSF men.

According to Indian media, the BSF arrested the Pakistani national from Ram Garh sub-sector of Samba sector at the international border.

The Indian media reported that the BSF had searched Mr Ashraf’s clothes and seized Rs12,000 from him.

According to Mr Ashraf’s relatives, he went to cut fodder as usual in the fields but did not return home in the evening and so they became worried.

“We were searching for him but we came to know through an Indian news channel that he had been arrested by the BSF,” they said.

The family had asked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to get the old man freed from the Indian border forces.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2019

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