A leading Pakistani human rights activist on Wednesday called upon the governments of Pakistan and India to take steps for early repatriation of the women who are stranded in Jammu and Kashmir for several years.
It is in place to mention here that more than two hundred women from different parts of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) and some Pakistani towns had moved across the Line of Control (LoC) along with their spouses after the announcement of "surrender policy" by Indian government for former militants in 2011.
Their plight came into the spotlight late last month after one Kubra Gillani, a 27-years old resident of Muzaffarabad, who was divorced by her Kashmiri husband after eight years of their marriage uploaded a video message on internet. Ever since her divorce in November last year, she has been trying to return to Muzaffarabad, but to no avail.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ansar Burney, a leading Pakistani human rights and social activist, met Kubra Gillani's widowed mother in her rented house on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad and told her that he had been making all possible efforts to bring her daughter and other girls like her back to their homes.
Speaking to Greater Kashmir on Wednesday, Burney said he was in contact with as many as 50 "out of more or less three hundred" such women who were desperate to return to their homes in PaK or Pakistan – some due to the dissolution of their marriage and some for a short family visit. "There have been reports that some of these women are living in acute distressful and miserable conditions and circumstances… Many have become psychological patients and some have even committed or attempted to commit suicide," he said.
He said only last week he had sent a letter to Satya Pal Malik, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, urging him to help such women return for good or make short visits to their parents in PaK and Pakistan, as and when they desired.
He said he had also written a letter to Sushma Swaraj, India's minister for external affairs, in this regard. "Being herself a woman, a daughter and a mother, Swaraj can better understand the agony of pain of such women, which is why I have made a passionate appeal to him to remove obstacles in their repatriation," he said. "If India deems these women are illegal citizens, she should deport them without further ado."
Asked if the Foreign Office of Pakistan had taken any tangible step in connection with this issue, particularly after it was highlighted in a section of media, Burney replied in the negative.