Hearing & speech-impaired boy repatriated to Pakistan

Devinder Singh Kohli/Agency | January 01, 2018 08:00 PM
Hearing & speech-impaired boy repatriated to Pakistan

Chandigarh, A hearing and speech impaired 12-year-old boy from Pakistan, arrested for accidentally straying into Indian territory in May last, is set to reunite with his family in Lahore as the Indian government has allowed his repatriation, officials said on Monday.

He is currently lodged in the juvenile home-cum-Borstal Jail in Punjab's Faridkot town, some 250 km from the state capital.

"The Ministry of External Affairs this morning (Monday) allowed the repatriation of Hasnain. Accordingly, he was handed over to Pakistani authorities at the Attari border," Faridkot Deputy Commissioner Rajiv Prashar told IANS.

He said the boy had been lodged in the observation home since May last year.

The Border Security Force (BSF) had detained the boy when he crossed over to the Indian side in the Ferozepur sector of Punjab on May 1.

His identity was revealed from a Pakistani Rs 20 denomination note recovered from his pocket.

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had confirmed that his father Javed Iqbal was a resident of Lahore in Pakistan.

His case came to light on December 2 when a tweet by a Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar highlighted his plight.

Reacting subsequently, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asked Tarar to send his details.

In one of her tweets, Swaraj said they have a 12-year-old juvenile in the Faridkot observation home. He was apprehended by the BSF in May 2017.

"We are waiting for Pakistan to confirm his nationality as well," she tweeted.

She wrote that since the boy was just 12 and had strayed into the Indian territory in May this year, the Indian government was ready to give the parents a visa.

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