A Pakistani woman and her minor daughter who are languishing in a jail in Jammu for four years after her husband allegedly abandoned them in Delhi have been dealt a double whammy with the Pakistani high commission refusing to confirm her nationality to facilitate her deportation.
Rubeena continues to be in jail due to the Pakistan high commission’s “failure to authenticate” her identity. Her daughter, except for the first four months of her life, has also been behind the bars with her mother.
Such has been the mother-daughter duo’s plight that even Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar of the Jammu and Kashmir high court in Srinagar, who has been hearing her case, prodded the authorities by saying that Rubeena and her minor child “belong to some place on the planet” and they be “returned to their roots”.
“The petitioner’s and her minor child’s position, at the moment, is of a person in no man’s land, which belongs to none, but fact of the matter is that the lady does belong to some place on the planet and it becomes duty of the concerned authorities to secure confirmation about her nationality at the earliest,” the court said.
The court said that the present case is “yet another glaring example of human tragedy through which some people in the human history pass.”
Rubeena’s story would not have come to light had the Valley’s human rights lawyer Mir Shafaqat not met her accidently during a visit to Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal Jail in 2014. The mother-daughter duo is currently lodged in Jammu’s Amphalla jail.
Mir Shafaqat, who is fighting for Rubeena’s deportation to her country, said that she was a resident of Musa Colony Hyderabad, Pakistan and was on a visit to Delhi in November 2012 for the treatment of asthma. She was accompanied by her husband and four-month-old daughter.
Shafaqat said that Rubeena, who is in her late twenties, told him that her husband abandoned her in Delhi and disappeared with money, her passport and visa.
“Taking pity on the plight of the mother and daughter, some people in Delhi contributed from their pockets and asked her to go to Wagah border but was not allowed to travel by Pakistani authorities for want of proper documents. Some people then told her to go to Jammu where she was arrested by security forces at Kanachak on November 6, 2012 and was booked under section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act (foreigner travelling without documents),” Shafaqat said.
After Shafaqat filed a case in 2014, the court asked the jail authorities to deport her which they failed to do. He filed a contempt case prompting the state to respond by saying the authorities of Pakistan high commission did not “confirm the nationality of the petitioner on the basis of particulars which were furnished to them”.
Shafaqat again filed the particulars including the proper address, parentage, the name of her brother and uncles, their occupation and the name of the school where she studied in Hyderabad, Pakistan.
Assistant Solicitor General of India S A Makroo submitted before the court that the state took up the matter with union home ministry (foreign division) which in turn took up the matter with ministry of external affairs on April 26, May 20 and September 20, 2016.
Makroo said that the ministry of external affairs was requested to take up the matter with Pakistan high commission for confirming the nationality and issuance of travel documents to Rubeena.
“I have been informed that so far no confirmation in this regard has been received. Until such time, the nationality of the petitioner is confirmed by the Pakistan High Commission in India, the petitioner cannot be repatriated to Pakistan,” he said.