Indian mother-son duo duped by human traffickers, freed by Pakistan after one-year jail ordeal

  • Both of them were victims of human trafficking and were released from a jail in Balochistan province's Quetta.

Written By Saurav Mukherjee
Updated30 May 2024
Representatives from the two paramilitary border forces held a meeting on Tuesday at the Wagah-Attari border. Photo: AFP
Representatives from the two paramilitary border forces held a meeting on Tuesday at the Wagah-Attari border. Photo: AFP

An Indian woman, Wahida Begum, and her minor son, Faiz Khan, were handed over to Indian forces by Pakistan at the Wagah border in Punjab on Wednesday after completing their sentence of a little over one year for illegally entering Pakistan in 2023.

Both of them were victims of human trafficking and were released from a jail in Balochistan province's Quetta, a Pakistani official said on Thursday, reported PTI.

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Wahida is a resident of Nagaon district in Assam and was arrested in 2023 along with her son while illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan via the Chaman border.

She told the authorities in Pakistan that an Indian travel agent had deceived her, due to which she reached Pakistan. "After the death of my husband in 2022, I decided to take my son to Canada. For this purpose, I sold my property and paid a hefty sum of money to an Indian agent," PTI quoted her statement to police in Pakistan.

Wahida said the agent travelled with them to Dubai and Afghanistan last year. She was promised that she and her son would be taken to Canada from Afghanistan.

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"However, in Afghanistan, he took all of my money and our passports and managed to flee," she said.

But to reach her homeland (India), she and her son crossed into Pakistan via the Chaman border, where they were arrested by the Pakistani authorities (under the Foreigners Act).

"Later we were provided consular access and the process of verifying our citizenship took several months," she said and added her Pakistani lawyer informed her mother back in India about their ordeal.

Following this, her kin contacted the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, seeking their help for their safe return.

After this, the Indian High Commission officials reportedly took up her case with the interior ministry in Islamabad.

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Finally, on Wednesday, Wahida and her son were released upon completing their sentence and were handed over to the BSF at the Wagah border.

Apart from this, two other Indian citizens –  Shabir Ahmed and Suraj Pal – were also handed over to the BSF on Wednesday.

Ahmed was released from Karachi's Malir Jail, while Pal was set free from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail after completing their sentences.

With agency inputs.

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