Pakistani spouses of ex-Kashmir militants protest in Srinagar, demand travel documents

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Srinagar, Mar 29: A group of Pakistani origin Kashmiri brides staged a protest in press colony here in Lalchowk area of Srinagar demanding formal citizenship and permission to visit their parents.
Safiya Mohammad Syed originally from Muzaffarabad has been living in Sopore with her family for the last many years said that we got married to Kashmiri men who have crossed the border for training in the year 1990s.
She said that the families returned to Kashmir under the return and rehabilitation scheme 2010 announced by then chief minister Omar Abdullah.
“We were living peacefully in Pakistan with our families but after the announcement of rehabilitation policy we returned to Kashmir through Nepal route,” she added.
“During these 10 years we have not been able to meet our families, some of us have lost their parents but were not allowed go Pakistan,” said Asma another protester.
Another protestor Zeba Bano said that illegal immigrants are those people who sneak inside any particular country’s domain without the knowledge of concerned government authorities.
“But our case is absolutely contrasting, it’s only by the virtue of government authorities that we return Kashmir via Nepal border,’’ she added.
“Under the rehabilitation policy in 2010 we were promised to travel freely, after the announcement of rehabilitation, we returned Kashmir with our families. We were told here that you people have crossed the border illegally, to which some of us have received punishment,” she added.
These women, who had come as bride accompanying their husbands and children, belonged to various places of Pakistan. They said they should be allowed to meet their families across the border.
These women who are presently living in different districts of Kashmir requested the government of India and Pakistan to look into the matter and solve their issues as soon as possible by providing them with the passport and other legal documents required to visit their country.
The protesting women also appealed Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to look into this matter.
“If our demands were not fulfilled in coming days, we will again stage a protest until we will get permission to go Pakistan,” the protesting women said.