Pakistan repatriates two Kashmiri youth at Kaman bridge

SRINAGAR: Pakistan on Saturday repatriated two Kashmiri youth who had separately strayed into the territory of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) from the Line of Control (LoC) more than two years ago, Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted officials saying.

The two boys were identified as Bilal Ahmed 23, and Arfaz Yousuf 24. Ahmed, a resident of Gurez village, and Yousuf, a resident of Kupwara had crossed the LoC “by mistake” in July 2015 and January 2014 from Nikru and Chilyana sectors, respectively.

The handover took place at the Kaman Bridge on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road. The bridge, named Aman Setu, separates the two Kashmiris. Civilian and military officials were present, the newspaper said.

“The officials assembled in the middle of Kaman Bridge to carry out repatriation process, including their medical examination by doctors from both sides,” the newspaper reported from Muzaffarabad. “The whole process took more than an hour.”

Pakistani officials had also brought gifts, such as clothes, sweaters, bags and shoes, apart from two baskets of sweets, which were given to them on the occasion, it added.

Ahmed’s brother Mohammad Javed and Yousuf’s father Mohammad Yousuf, who were accompanying Indian officials, hugged and kissed them, amid tearful eyes and visible feelings of gratitude.

“The moment they saw each other on the bridge they broke down,” the newspaper quoted Basharat Gardezi, additional SHO in Chinari police station, saying. “It was a moving scene.”

In April last year, Pakistani authorities had repatriated a woman namely Shakeela Bano from Chakothi-Uri crossing point, two years after she had strayed into PaK, “allegedly in a fit of rage.”

Prior to that in July 2015, two teenaged Kashmiri boys – 18-year-old Imtiaz and 17-year-old Saleem – were repatriated from Chilyana-Titwal crossing point, a week after they had inadvertently strayed into PaK, the newspaper said. In December 2014, Nasreen Bibi, 12, was repatriated from Chakothi-Uri crossing point, three days after she had strayed.

The repatriation on Saturday took place, two days after a “women intruder” was shot dead on International Border in Jammu. Pakistani media identified the slain as Rasheeda Bibi, 53. It said the “mentally ill” woman from Sialkot’s Diawara village, had “crossed the Working Boundary after losing her way”. Her body was later handed over to Pakistan Rangers.

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