Love knows no bounds. But if love fades, borders can become barbs for broken hearts.

A Hyderabadi doctor, divorced by her Pakistani husband, is now becoming estranged from her land of birth. Two days ago, Athiya Jabeen Ather, 50, and her son, Mohammed Habeeb, 20, both Pakistani citizens, were arrested by the special branch police from their home at Alijah Kotla in Hyderabad for overstaying. They now face the unhappy prospect of getting deported.

Dr. Ather never thought in her wildest dreams that her “mistake” of marrying a man from the neighbouring country would come to haunt her two decades later. After completing her medical course in Osmania Medical College in 1985, she went to Saudi Arabia and married a Pakistani national. But the marriage turned sour after they moved to Pakistan. The couple got divorced a few years later and she came to Hyderabad, along with her physically challenged son, in 2006.

They had Pakistani passports but they did not renew them in time. The passport had to be renewed in Delhi and the special branch of the Hyderabad police had to grant the permission for stay. Mr. Habeeb married a Hyderabadi girl, Fatima, recently. As police cite rules and regulations, the two families are caught in a quandary. Ms. Fatima is doing a degree course in the Old City. “How can she live without her husband,” her father asks.

The family of Dr. Ather is worried as there is no one to look after her in Pakistan. “My sister is born in Hyderabad and she completed her education in the city. Can’t she stay here?” Dr. Ather asks.

Three lives are at stake. The family members hope the government will take a compassionate view of their plight.