PaK brides deserve honourable exit

They can’t bear this injustice for too long
PaK brides deserve honourable exit
A group of Pakistani spouses of former Kashmiri militants who had returned under the J&K government’s rehabilitation programme for surrendered militants staged a protest in Srinagar on March 29, 2019 seeking their rights and travel documents to visit Pakistan. Habib Naqash/GK

Women from Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) have beenstaging protests in Srinagar for various reasons. These demonstrations haveonce again brought to fore that a lot needs to be done to secure the rights ofthe women.  

These protesters had travelled from far off districts ofBaramulla and Kupwara to stage a protest and to petition Prime MinisterNarendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to take concrete stepsto "facilitate their return," (Greater Kashmir Mar 30, 2019).

Nearly 450 Kashmiri men along with their families returnedto the Valley in 2010 after the then Omar Abdullah government announced arehabilitation package for them.

Soon after these women landed in the Valley they realizedthat they have ended up in a mess. The rehabilitation policy which was announced by the NC-Congress regime andwas endorsed by the then Congress led UPA government at the Centre had manyflaws. Husbands of these women were denied jobs and even their children werenot given admissions in schools due to no clear cut instructions from thegovernment.

 During all theseyears situation has become more difficult for these Pakistani brides as many ofthem have been divorced by their husbands and they are living in rentedaccommodation. "We are homeless at present and somehow we are managing our roomrent. We will keep on protesting till our main demand of facilitating our safereturn to PaK is agreed upon by both the countries," Greater Kashmir on 30March, 2019, quoted these women as having said.

By divorcing many of these women the Kashmiri men have left them in lurch. These poor females have nowhere to go as they were not given any travel documents when they entered into India through Nepal route. These poor women are suffering due to the mistakes which were committed by the people at the helm in 2010.

Had this rehabilitation policy been devised meticulously today these women could have travelled back. One fails to understand that if the then government had decided to rehabilitate the Kashmiri men, along with their families, why they were not allowed to seek entry into India legally? Why was the Nepal route chosen?

There are many whys which need an answer but at presentsomething needs to be done for these women from the other side. At least thewomen who have been divorced by their husbands should be allowed to go back sothat they can live rest of their lives in peace.           

According to the media reports many of these women aresuffering from depression and have been pushed to an edge. They need to be helpedso that they don't take any extreme steps.

Since 1990, women folk in Kashmir have witnessed tremendoushardships due to one or other reasons. Kashmiri society also needs to wake upand stop the men from trampling the rights of the women, who have been thevictims of various forms of violence during the past three decades.        

No civilized society can allow men to call shots and womento suffer. There have been many instances in our society being biased towardsthe fairer sex. This discrimination has to end. This change has to come fromthe within and it needs no lessons.    

At this point of time PaK women need all sort of assistance and help from the denizens of this land. They need to be reassured that their case would be pleaded and if they have been deserted by their husbands they would be sent back. The Jammu and Kashmir government needs to step in and save these women from facing more trouble.

Their issue can be taken up with the authorities on the other side of the border so the way is paved for their return. Their return needs to be facilitated in a legal way not like their entry which in no means could be termed as legal.

These PaK brides need justice and their pleas need to beheard. The mistakes which were committed by the Omar Abdullah regime and thethen Congress led government at the Centre need to be corrected. One hopes thatsomeone listens to these women and comes forward to help them so that theirmiseries end.

(The writer is a former Journalist and member of JK YouthAlliance)

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