A group of Pakistani spouses of former Kashmiri militants, who returned to the valley under the government’s’ rehabilitation policy in 2010, protested in Srinagar on Saturday, demanding travel documents to return home.
Appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, the women said that they couldn’t travel to Pakistan, because the government is not providing them promised permanent residence certificates.
In 2010, the then government announced a surrender and rehabilitation policy for J&K youths who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) for arms training. The policy was for those who had renounced militancy and wanted to return home.
“We came with families after Omar Sahib( then J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah) had announced the policy. But, here we feel cheated and now no one is here to listen us,” says Asia Hassan Baba, one of the protestors, who came to Kashmir under the policy.
“We were invited here and we did not intrude. At present, we don’t have a single document, through which we can travel to our homes. For the last 10 years, we haven’t seen faces of our brothers, sisters and parents in Pakistan.”
There are more than 500 women from Pakistan who are facing a difficult time in Kashmir, she added.
Another woman said that the family has been striving for a state subject for her and her children. “In 2012, we(my husband and children) returned here though Nepal. One of my close relatives recently passed away in Muzaffarabad and I couldn’t travel because I don’t have any document,” she said.
The protesting women were carrying a banner, which read, “Hum Pakistani hai, humein wapas bhejdo”.