Pakistan origin Kashmiri brides on Monday reiterated their demand of deporting them to their residences in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).
Tobia is one of the women “I am from Pakistan-administered Kashmir but I got married to a militant from Kashmir. Then during the Omar Abdullah government, in the cycle of ‘surrender scheme’ in 2011, my husband insisted on returning to India and with him, my children and I came to Kashmir from across the border”.
Addressing a news conference, the Pakistan origin wives of former Kashmiri militants said that the Pakistan embassy has been writing to the foreign Minister almost every month, seeking permission for the women to visit their homes. “We want the government of India to allow us to return home to meet our dear ones there.
The government has rejected us as citizens and it makes no sense for the authorities to stop us from deporting back to our residential places,” they said.
“We have knocked almost all the doors but don’t know why our voices go unheard. When a Pak origin Kashmiri bride Somiya Sadaf contested the elections recently, she was allowed to do so.
She said “I will tell all the women of Kashmir on the Pakistan side to never have a relationship there”.
The government considers my husband a terrorist. What is our fault? We did not make them terrorists. We just got married and moved here. Why are we tied up?
Not once in these five and a half years did I get a chance to go back to my homeland, to my family. During this time my father died and I got the news a year later.
There are thousands of girls like me in Muzaffarabad who have married men from Kashmir.
All these Kashmiri people from India came to Pakistan at a young age to become militants and then in a few years they all left and started living a normal life.
Tobia said that “My husband also started a vegetable and fruit shop. We got married with the consent of our parents. Then came the ‘Surrender Scheme’ in 2011 and he insisted that he wanted to meet his parents, siblings”.
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My parents forbade me and said that they were afraid that there would be no way back.
I can’t believe I also had a great interest in seeing Indian Kashmir. So he obeyed them. He wanted his family to meet me too, what else did a married woman have to do? Saying no could break the house, ruining the children’s lives.
We came to Kashmir on December 10, 2011 via Nepal. It was not in the four official routes mentioned in the ‘Surrender Scheme’ but the Pakistani administration was not allowing us to go through these routes.
After coming to Kashmir, we were arrested and charged with crossing the border illegally.
When I came here, I thought I would go back in a month, but I am going around the police station and the court.
No ID cards found so far. Whenever there is talk of coming and going, getting a passport, it is said that you are illegal.
She asked “If we are so illegal then why don’t you send us back? And this is what is done in all countries. On the one hand, India extends the hand of friendship to Pakistan, and then we the people are entangled in legal cases.”
People here are not trusted. There are friends here. I can’t speak my heart out to anyone. People’s faces are different and it seems they are different from the inside.
For five and a half years we have felt like we were locked up in a prison. Meanwhile, my younger brother got married and I didn’t know it.
She said “There are also many girls who get married in countries outside Pakistan-administered Kashmir but have no problem returning”.
“Why do we think India came? Why are these people angry? Why did you lie and bring us out of there? Everything just seems to lie” She added.