Kin of surrendered militants want promises fulfilled

Srinagar, March 26 : More than 35 families of militants who returned home from Pakistan and surrendered under the Jammu and Kashmir government's rehabilitation policy Tuesday staged protests here against the state and the central governments.

Pakistani women who had come to Kashmir with their former militant husbands and children under the rehabilitation policy said they had been "cheated" by the authorities.

"My wife belongs to Pakistan. She needs travel documents to visit her parents for 10 days. As a Muslim, I also need travel documents for Hajj and Umrah. Where do I go for those documents? After coming home to live in peace I have, in fact, lost my identity," said Saifullah Farooq, a surrendered militant.

"I came here with my children and my Pakistani wife via Nepal under the state government's rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants. After Liyaquat's arrest, whom we know during our days in Pakistan, I am unsure of my future. If I go to Delhi, they may plant two grenades on me and book me as a Lashkar or some other terrorist," Farooq added.

Dilshada, a Pakistani belonging to Muzaffarabad who came here with her husband under the rehabilitation policy, said: "I was married 11 years ago. I am worried about my five children's future. Nobody has helped us here."

"I want to visit my parents and brothers in Muzaffarabad. Whom should I approach for my travel documents? Seeing our plight in Kashmir, nobody will respond to the rehabilitation policy now. After what has been done to Liyaquat, things are really worrisome for us," she said.

Zeba from Islamabad in Pakistan said: "We came here under the rehabilitation policy which was publicised by the state government. We came on the assurances given by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. We were told to come here through any route possible."

"We approached the Indian embassy in Islamabad for travel documents. They said they could not help us. Then we took the Nepal route. If the wife of Yasin Malik of JKLF is given travel documents, why the same can't be given to me?" Zeba said.

She added: "My sisters are married in Europe. They visit my parents regularly. Why can't I visit my parents? If we have committed a crime by responding to the rehabilitation promise of the state government, then we should be deported".

Zeba said all Pakistani women who had come to the Kashmir Valley with their husbands are mothers.

"No mother carrying her children can trigger a bomb," Zeba said.

The families of surrendered militants have formed an organisation under the J and K Human Welfare Association, Centre for Peace, Development of Humanity and Rehabilitation of Ex-militants.

After the arrest of Syed Liyaquat Shah by Delhi Police on charges of planning a terror strike in Delhi, panic has gripped dozens of families who returned to Kashmir under the state government's ambitious rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants.

The policy has taken a serious setback as people in Kashmir believe Liyaquat had been framed after his return to India from Pakistan.

--IANS (Posted on 26-03-2013)

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