For the first time,a large group of about 40 persons,including former militants and their families,have fled Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir together and surrendered before Indian authorities last month for amnesty under the J&K governments rehabilitation policy.
In a well-planned escape from PoK which,sources said,they co-ordinated with their relatives in Jammu and Kashmir,these militants all had left the Valley along with their Pakistani wives and children arrived in Kathmandu between April 15 and 28 on valid Nepali visas via Dubai,flying either PIA or FlyDubai,along with their families.
At first,this created a security scare as Indian agencies had never come across such a large number together. The group had hired an agent,who facilitates such travel from PoK,and reached Kathmandu with much trouble.
They regrouped and traveled to the Indian border from where they hired a bus to go to Kashmir but were detained at the Sunauli border checkpost. As part of the plan,the group had destroyed their Pakistani travel documents,passports and other papers on reaching Nepal. Each bought air tickets,which included a return ticket to meet stipulated visa and immigration conditions.
All members of the group have claimed amnesty under the Jammu and Kashmir governments rehabilitation policy which does provide for authorities to waive charges under the states Egress and Internal Movement Ordinance. This essentially refers to charges placed on individuals who crossed over for training. On reaching here,sources said,they claimed the situation in Pakistan was not conducive for them to stay any more and they now wanted to return home.
Most of the individuals went across to PoK in the 1990s and even up to 2003. On reaching there,they did receive arms training in camps belonging to various groups including JKLF,Al-Fatah and Hizbul Mujahideen. However,they claim to have never returned for carrying any terrorist attack.
Instead,they claim to have settled down in PoK,married local Pakistani women and started small businesses or opened shops. Intelligence officials feel that these men may have not fared well in the training or were just considered reserves. While a thorough check is being carried,the group has already applied for bail as charges under this ordinance are bailable.
The children have been handed over to the relatives. In fact,these former militants were in touch with their extended family in Kashmir and are said to have planned their escape in consultation with them.