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Court sets free Pak boy who crossed over sleeping

india Updated: Feb 26, 2010 22:06 IST

PTI
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Taking a lenient view, a Juvenile court today set free a Pakistan teenager, who reached India on board the Samjhauta Express without valid documents, and asked the concerned officials to arrange for his repatriation.

Mohammad Atiq, 13, ran away from his home in Pakistan's Punjab province after his father stopped him from flying kites. He took shelter and fell asleep in a railway bogie in Lahore station which was attached to the Samjhauta Express the next morning.

When he reached Attari railway station on January 11, Indian immigration officials detained him after they found that he did not possess any travel documents. He was sent to a juvenile home after being booked under the Indian Passport Act and the Foreigners Act.

Taking a lenient view, Principal Magistrate of Juvenile Board Ajaib Singh ordered for his release and directed concerned officials to take necessary arrangements for his repatriation back to Pakistan, lawyer D P Sharma, who was pursuing the case, told reporters.

Earlier, the court was told that Atiq was a class seventh student and his detention would affect his future studies. It was also argued that he was not a criminal, Sharma said.

Pakistan's Human Rights Commission Chairperson Asma Jehangir was present outside the court at the time of the delivery of the order.

She said she would take up the matter with the Pakistan government to hold talks with Indian counterparts to facilitate repatriation of Atiq so that he could resume his studies at the earliest.

"Atiq's family in Lahore was praying for a reunion with the boy," Asma told reporters here.