Tuesday, January 26, 2021

India Releases Pakistani Sisters and their Prison Born Child

Two Pakistani sisters, one of whom gave birth in an Indian prison, were released on Thursday after serving 10 years for drug trafficking. Fatima Rehman was arrested in 2006, along with her sister Mumtaz, and their mother Rashida – who died in the prison. Her 11-year-old daughter, Hina, has grown up in Amritsar jail, in Punjab. She has never met her family back home.

Pakistan agreed to grant Hina Pak citizenship despite being born in India

At her prison school, Hina learned Punjabi folk songs – she spoke to the media that desires to sing them to her siblings and father when she goes back to her home in Pakistan. She claimed her mother, aunt and grandmother are innocent but spent years in jail because of someone’s “mistake”.

“If I become an officer, I could also make such a mistake. But if I am a doctor, then I will only be helping people – so I want to be a doctor,” she added.

While Fatima and Mumtaz’s 10-and-a-half-year sentence ended in November 2016, the court sentenced them to another two years because they couldn’t afford to pay their fine of 400,000 rupees ($6,187; £4,688). They were released after a local NGO paid the amount.

Hina’s defense lawyer Navjyot Kaur Chabba said that the three women were booked under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act and were sentenced to 10 years each in jail. However, Rashida Begum passed away in 2015. The lawyer further said that their sentences were extended for another year as they failed to provide a fine of Rupees 4 lakh to travel to Pakistan following which an NGO, Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust, helped them with the amount.

“I am a very poor man, so I couldn’t pay the fine,” Fatima’s husband, Gujaranwala Saiful Rehman told the media. His son, Ghulam, said that he and his two siblings were “eagerly waiting” for Hina, who they have never met.

Hina, her mother, and her aunt entered Pakistan through the Wagah border in the Indian state of Punjab on Thursday afternoon.

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