Two teenage sisters from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) — who had strayed into occupied Kashmir allegedly after a domestic squabble — were repatriated by Indian authorities on Monday.
The repatriation of 17-year-old Laiba Zubair and her younger sibling, 13-year-old Sana, took place through the Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point in Poonch district along the Line of Control (LoC) at 12:30pm, said Yasir Riaz, assistant commissioner of Hajira, who was present on the occasion along with Pakistan Army and police officials.
Both the girls, who were given gifts and sweets by Indian authorities as a goodwill gesture, were examined by a lady doctor at Tetrinote terminal before they were sent to neighbouring Abbaspur sub-division, where they lived.
Abbaspur Assistant Commissioner Tassawar Kazmi speaks to Laiba and Sana at the police station.
On Sunday, India media had reported that two young girls from AJK had inadvertently entered their side of the LoC in Poonch sector and had been detained by the Indian army.
In a video clip shared by Indian officials on social media on Monday, the elder girl was heard saying, among other things, that they had “lost their way” and landed across the divide.
According to official sources and local journalists in Abbaspur, the father of the girls — who worked as a butcher in town — had
died around six months ago. Ever since, his family, comprising two wives and eight children, was facing a lot of hardship.
It was being assumed that both girls had left their home on Saturday evening after a domestic squabble. However, in a “disappearance report” lodged by their brother at the Abbaspur Police Station on Saturday, no such thing was mentioned.
From Tetrinote, the girls were taken to the Abbaspur Police Station for completing procedural formalities before being allowed to go home.
Apart from police officials, Abbaspur Assistant Commissioner Syed Tasawwar Hussain Kazmi also conducted an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the incident.
“In fact, theirs is a heart-breaking story […]. After the death of their father the family was left destitute and that would trigger squabbles at their small home almost daily.
“It’s because of this miserable situation they took this step and I think that society as a whole is responsible for what they have done,” he remarked, expressing the hope that the state and affluent members of society would take care of them in the future.
The unmarked LoC that splits the Himalayan region of Kashmir often witnesses inadvertent crossings by villagers on either side as they cut fodder, herd cattle or pluck medicinal plants.
However, despite an agreement between the two sides for early repatriation of the inadvertent crossers, Indian troops have on several occasions shot dead such people.