Asima’s Plight

The PaK girl who married to a Kashmiri boy and is languishing in Poonch Jail puts a big question mark to Government’s Rehabilitation Policy



Since last couple of years we have been hearing about “Rehabilitation Policy” of the J&K Government for the youth who went across the LOC. The Government claims that many people have availed the benefits of this policy and many associated with militancy are returning back to valley, and other parts of state including Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Poonch. But on the other hand people who have returned back from Pakistan or Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) are complaining of being subjected to many rounds of questioning by the various security and Intelligence agencies which makes such people feel insecure. The local media has been highlighting the problems of such people since last couple of months and sometime back Greater Kashmir even carried a story on this issue titled Rehabilitation Policy goes awry. But my heart bleeds when I see a sister from Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) Asima Akhtar, languishing in Poonch jail since last more than two and a half years.
Asima Akhtar is from Bagh district of Pakistani Administered Kashmir (PaK) and belongs to a Kashmiri Lone family who migrated to PaK in late 1940s . She was married to Mohammad Ashraf Jahara, a young boy from Branwar village in Chadoora tehsil of Budgam district in Jan 2010.  Ashraf had crossed over to LoC during Autumn  of 1999 at a tender age of 13 years. He went to religious school in PaK for few years.  In 2007 Ashraf chose to work as a salesman in a grocery shop at Kacharban area of Bagh district of PaK and during this time his marriage got arranged with Asima Akhtar Lone who hails from the same area.
The Nikkah ceremony was solemnised at the same place in January 2010 and after the marriage Asima and Ashraf started living in a rented house. On 10th May 2010 Ashraf and  Asima crossed over to this side via Saujian sector of Poonch district and both were arrested by the Army who handed over them to local Police.
 “We thought that Police will let us go within a few days as we had been hearing that J&K Government has adopted some policy for people like me” said Ashraf,   but the couple landed in Poonch jail and Ashraf remained there till December 2011 (More than one and a half years). He was severely interrogated and physically tortured at JIC Jammu by Intelligence officials.
On the other hand Asima was not released by the authorities and when Ashraf reached his village he was taken into custody by the Chadoora police on the charges of two murder cases which had been committed in the years 2001 and 2002 respectively and on these charges Ashraf was sent to Judicial custody in Srinagar Central Jail .
“Can anyone imagine what kind of charges were levelled against me? Right from October 1999  till May 2010 I was in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) and how could I commit a crime in 2002 and 2003 that too a double  murder “ ?
Ashraf remained in custody at Central jail for another seven months and was bailed out after seven months in August 2012 but soon after being released he was re arrested by the sleuths of CIK but was released after a week’s time.
“I came back to valley with lots of good hope and thought of living a decent life but the treatment which was given to me is condemnable and till date my wife is languishing in Poonch jail and authorities instead of releasing her tried to push her back and if such things continue I don’t think anyone will come back under so called Rehabilitation Policy. My old ailing father has sold all his agricultural land to secure my release and still my wife is in jail “ said Ashraf, with tears in his eyes.
Recently Asima’s detention issue was raised by MLC Murtaza Khan in the Legislative Council but the MoS Home failed to properly respond to this issue. I appeal Politicians, Human Rights defenders and Civil Society actors  to raise the issue of Asima’s detention at various forums so that she is not pushed back across LOC by the authorities. The rehabilitation policy must be implemented in letter and spirit and people who want to come back or who have came back should not be harassed by the security agencies.

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Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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