NATIONAL

The Hindu aids release of Pakistani from jail

Luv Puri

JAMMU: Ishara Devi, 80, gets a new lease of life as she learnt about the whereabouts of her son lodged in a Pakistan jail for the last 18 years after he strayed into that country. She is a resident of Hiranagar in Kathua district.

Recently, she came to know of his son's location. And got a letter from Babu Ram too. Babu strayed into Sialkot district of Pakistan on April 8, 1988 and was sentenced to jail for 12 years. Babu completed his sentence in 1999 but was not deported. In his letter, Babu has asked his mother to contact authorities on this side to expedite his release.

Devendra Singh, who was released from the Pakistan jail, too contacted the family of Babu. Ishara says, "I have already suffered enough and I hope the Pakistan Government would release my son." What has heightened the plight of Babu is the fact that he has never seen his daughter who was born after he was caught by the Pakistani authorities.

Similar plight

On the other side of the border, Mumtaz Ali was in similar plight as Ishara until her son returned back two days ago from an Indian jail.

Amir Ali was among 24 Pakistan nationals who returned home. Amir, a third-year electrical engineering student at Lahore University, had gone to visit his maternal uncle in Qadirabad village of Sialkot district when he lost his way in heavy fog and entered the Indian territory via the Ramgarh sector in December 2001. Ali's one-year detention expired on August 5, 2002, but he continued to languish in jail. The Hindu began a search and located Amir at the Ramgarh police station on September 19, 2003, one km from the International Border.

Mumtaz called up The Hindu office and thanked all those instrumental in the release of her son. She said, "We had almost lost hope of meeting Amir again as each day for more than three years has been a painful experience. ... I hope other innocent persons in each other's jails too are released."

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