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Grant us Indian citizenship or deport, demand Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants

Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants, who returned
from across the Line of Control under a rehabilitation scheme, appealed to the
central and state governments on Friday that they be either granted Indian
citizenship or deported.

“We are a total of 350 women…we should be made
citizens here as is the case with the women who marry men in any country. We
appeal the government of India and the state government to either grant us
passport or travel documents or deport us,” one of the women, Taiba, a
resident of Abottabad, told reporters here.

The women sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Jammu and Kashmir Governor S P
Malik as well as Pakistani premier Imran Khan to end their plight.

They also appealed to the United Nations and human rights
organisations across the world to take up their cause with India and Pakistan.

The women alleged that the state government was denying them
travel documents to visit their families in Pakistan or Pakistan-administered
Kashmir.

The women have held protests earlier as well to impress upon
the government to meet their demands.

In 2010, the then Jammu and Kashmir government led by Omar
Abdullah had announced a rehabilitation policy for former Kashmiri militants,
who had crossed over to Pakistan from 1989 to 2009 and had designated four
points — Wagah-Attari, Salambad, Chakan Da Bagh and the Indira Gandhi
International Airport in Delhi — for their return.

The Nepal route was approved unofficially.

Hundreds of persons, who had crossed the Line of Control
(LoC) for arms training, returned along with their families through the Nepal
border till 2016 after which this policy was discontinued by the Centre.

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