Her 80-year-old father is on the deathbed in Pakistan and Iram Sayar, wife of a reformed Kashmiri militant, is fighting a bureaucratic battle to get a passport to visit him — one last time.
When the couple and their daughter crossed over to India from Rawalpindi through Nepal in 2012, their documents and passports were taken by Nepalese authorities. Now, without required documents, Iram isn’t a citizen of any country and is unqualified to travel abroad.
On Wednesday, Iram and her husband Sayar Ahmad Lone met chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. Giving details about the meeting, they said the chief minister promised to take up the matter with home minister Rajnath Singh, who is scheduled to visit Srinagar in a few days. “The chief minister told us that there are certain legalities involved and the matter is complicated,” said Lone.
Iram, on the other hand, said she is ready to comply with all legal requisites but, as for now, she requested the authorities to allow her to visit her ailing father, who is suffering from heart and kidney diseases.
Speaking to HT, Iram said, “I told the CM that it will be kind of her to allow me to go now and all the legal formalities can be completed once I return.”
Iram’s story came to highlight when a PDP legislator, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, narrated her tale in the Assembly. As media reports followed, Iram said the CM should consider her case on “humanitarian grounds”.
Lone had crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) to be trained to become a militant in 2001 but eventually reformed himself. He married Iram in 2007 in Rawalpindi and returned to Kashmir in 2012 via Nepal, with his wife and daughter, as a part of the rehabilitation policy of the government. But in Nepal, Lone alleges that their passports were taken by the authorities.
At present, Iram and Lone, who works as a farmer, live in Shopian district of Kashmir, with their seven-year-old daughter.
Observers say that Iram’s problem is one of the many long-standing ones. Wives and children of reformed militants who returned to Kashmir through the rehabilitation policy have suffered a great deal because officially they have not been allotted the permanent resident certificates.
While the wives can’t visit their kin in Pakistan, many such children have not been able to get admission in schools because of questions over their citizenship.