MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistani authorities on Thursday repatriated a woman to India-held Kashmir (IHK), two years after she had strayed into the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Shakeela Bano, resident of Achlanga in tehsil Uri in India-held Kashmir, was sent back through Chakothi-Uri crossing point at the Line of Control (LoC), some 60 kilometres south of here in Hattian Bala district.
An ISPR official said Bano had entered the AJK territory from Bhedi in district Haveli, and lived in the neighbouring district Bagh with her uncle, who is a refugee from across the LoC.
Indian doctors examine Shakeela Bano on the Indian-held side of Kaman Bridge, as Pakistani and Indian army officers and a numbardar of Uri look on.
The 30-year-old, who was given gift packs and sweets by the Pakistani authorities, became a bit nervous when media men exposed her to their cameras shortly before her handover.
“I had an acrimonious exchange with my brother and in a fit of rage I left home and crossed the dividing line,” she said, adding, she spent the next two years with her uncle in Bagh.
Pakistani authorities had made it clear to their Indian counterparts that they would repatriate the woman only if her blood relatives were brought to receive her, an official told Dawn.
As the girl crossed Kaman bridge, connecting Chakothi with Uri, her relatives were seen rushing forward to welcome her. However, media people were not allowed to go beyond a certain point to shoot the reunion.
Residents along the unmarked dividing line in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir often land themselves in trouble after inadvertently straying into the opposite side.
The situation has changed for the better following a thaw in relations between India and Pakistan, leading to repatriation of the inadvertent crossers in a friendly manner by the respective sides.
In July last year, Pakistani authorities had repatriated two teenaged Kashmiri boys through Chilyana-Titwal crossing point in Neelum valley, a week after they had inadvertently strayed into the AJK territory.
Prior to that, in November-December 2014, two young girls were separately repatriated by Pakistani authorities while a young boy was returned by the Indian authorities.
Courtesy : Dawn News