SIALKOT: The Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) arrested another mentally challenged Pakistani citizen for illegally crossing into their territory on March 11.

According to Indian media reports, the BSF took into custody Muhammad Iqbal (46) for crossing Indian border near Rahim Yar Khan and seized his identity card and some bills from him.

According to the seized documents, Iqbal belongs to village Koreyki, Daska tehsil, Sialkot. Village Koreyki is 43 kilometres from Sialkot.

Iqbal’s father Muhammad Nawaz, a brick kiln labourer, told reporters Iqbal was mentally challenged and had been missing for four years.

Some locals alerted his family after watching the news story of Iqbal on different Indian and Pakistani TV channels. “Earlier, we were dealing with the pain patiently of prolonged absence of our son, but after knowing that he is in BSF custody, we’re in constant pain and cannot wait to see him. We saw and recognised him on Indian and Pakistani TV news channels. We are praying for his safety,” said Nawaz.

Iqbal’s mother Bashiran Bibi said she died every moment because of her missing son and only she knew how she had spent these four years.

Villagers said Iqbal was mentally challenged and harmless. They demanded the government arrange his early return and that India release him as a goodwill gesture. The family said that they did not know how Iqbal ventured into India near Rahim Yar Khan.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2019