Indian prisoner’s family reaches border to welcome him home

March 1st, 2008 - 11:17 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Attari border (Punjab), March 1 (IANS) With a photograph from his younger days, the family of former army man Kashmir Singh, who was languishing in Pakistani jails for 35 years after being put on a death row on charges of spying, reached the Attari-Wagah border Saturday to welcome him home. The family, which hails from Nangal Choran village near Hoshiarpur, 200 km from here, arrived at the border post thinking that Singh would come back to India Saturday.

“He was released in Lahore Friday and we thought that he would arrive today. But we have been told now that some formalities regarding travel documents were needed from the Indian embassy in Islamabad and he will arrive Monday,” his handicapped son Shishpal said.

Singh’s ageing wife, Paramjit Kaur, who virtually led the life of a widow for several years and underwent great suffering to bring up her two sons and a daughter in their village, stared at the border gates with hope.

She did not say anything, perhaps overcome by emotion that her husband would walk free after 35 years and be reunited with the family.

Singh was caught by Pakistan’s security agencies in 1973 on charges of espionage. He was sentenced to death by an army court but continued to be in Pakistani jails ever since. His mercy petition was this week allowed by President Pervez Musharraf after Pakistan’s caretaker Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney pursued his case.

Burney had described Singh’s living conditions in Pakistani jails as “hell on earth”.

Singh is said to be mentally unstable at times following torture at the hands of jail officials.

Paramjit worked as a housemaid near her village to bring up her children single-handedly.

The couple had got married after a love affair and their story is now being linked to Bollywood blockbuster “Veer-Zaara”.

Singh had told Burney this week that he wanted to go back to India wearing a business suit. Burney said that Singh’s wish was being fulfilled.

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Posted in South Asia |