The Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj to grant them citizenship rights.
Addressing a press conference here, the Pakistani brides said majority of them have been divorced by their husbands after they travelled to this side of Kashmir since 2010.
Under a rehabilitation policy announced by then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, more than 550 militants have returned to Kashmir, many of them along with their families.
After the eruption of armed struggle here in 90s many thousands of youth crossed over to other side of LoC for arms training. But many of them preferred to live a normal life in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK), married there, had kids and then decided to return under the 2010 policy.
Little did they know that they will remain under the radar of government and their wives and children will face “identity crisis”.
“The moment we landed in Kashmir, we started facing hardships and lot of problems. When we went to schools to get our children admitted there, they were refused admission on the pretext they were born in PaK,” said Toiba, who along with her three children had travelled from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district to narrate her ordeal.
She said that after many years, they spent in Kashmir, their husbands were denied government and private jobs with the result they divorced their wives.
“Majority of us have been divorced and we are staying illegally in our in-laws houses. We have nowhere to go. We appeal Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also the minister for external affairs Sushma Sawraj, who being a woman can understand our pain and sufferings, to grant us citizenship,” she said.
Flanked by another Pakistani bride, Safiya Baji, Toyiba else they should be allowed to travel back to PaK so that they can live their remaining life with some sort of dignity.
Speaking on the occasion Safiya Baji said that they never knew their life would turn into “hell” after returning to this part of Kashmir.
“We have been moving from pillar to post but nobody is paying heed to our requests. We hope that government of India and government of Pakistan would act before we decide to take extreme steps to press for our demands,” she said. She said they have nowhere to go as the Muslim Personal Law Board led by Kashmir’s grand mufti, Nasir-ul-Islam has termed their stay in their in-laws houses as illegal in the wake of divorce given to them by their husbands. “Government of India must decide our fate, sooner the better,” she said.