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Pak detenues in Punjab eagerly await freedom

Written by: Staff
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Amritsar, June 29 (UNI) A daring son who attempted to cross the impregnable barbed wires in search of his father, a youth who strayed into unwelcome terrain and a pilgrim in search of solace who lost his documents are all eagerly awaiting tomorrow's dawn.

And they earnestly hope freedom will not prove elusive yet again as had happened earlier when despite the April 27 court order for their release, they were held up in the Central jail here.

Mohammed Younis, who looks forward to uniting with his family, tried to cross the invulnerable barbed wires near Wagha border to look for his father who had failed to return from India for over 15 years, but instead of a ''Bollywoodian happy reunion'', his quest landed him up behind bars here.

Seventeen-year-old Shahezad of Faisalabad had accidentally strayed across the border somewhere in the Punjab sector. He was sentenced to one year in jail but his release was delayed, as clearance did not come from the Pakistan authorities.

Mohammed Sultan had legally come to India as a pilgrim to the famous Ajmer Sharif shrine but lost his passport and other documents on way back home a few years back. He was apprehended at the Attari railway station and lodged at the jail here.

Abdul Rashid, another detenue from Kasur, strayed into Indian territory in the Khem Karan sector two years back and was apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF).

On April 27 this year, the High Court on a civil liberties petition ordered the release of 41 Pak detenues, who had been languishing in jails in the state even after the completion of their sentence.

While a few of these detenues had been released and repatriated to Pakistan, the remaining would be sent back tomorrow through the Wagah border.

Sixteen of the prisoners to be repatriated tomorrow are lodged at the Central jail here, while the remaining are in jails in Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan.

Acting upon the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab ADGP (prisons) H R Chadha yesterday disbursed Rs 1.80 lakh in compensation to these 16 Pakistani detenues.

Pakistan will repatriate 240 Indian fishermen, while India is expected to send back 192 Pakistani fishermen and 118 other civil prisoners through the Wagah post.

UNI HS-JN VD RS1839

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