Even as other inmates were happily celebrating Diwali, Pakistani teenager Nasir Sultan was lost in thoughts about his family members.
“Just the thought of separation from my mother, father and three brothers makes me shiver with loneliness,” he told HT.
Nasir was happy about the media taking up his case vigorously. But he was anxious to go home after hearing of delays in the release of other Pakistani children, who were earlier incarcerated for 30 to 52 months in the same juvenile home for similar infringements of border laws.
The teenager, who is from North West Frontier Province (NWFP), has been coping with the double heartbreak of separation from his family and being held prisoner. Although Nasir heard about Diwali celebrations in India, he was visibly upset as family members of other children lodged in the juvenile home came with sweets and toys to meet them, but he spent most of his time by sitting in a corner.
On Monday, when Nasir, who speaks Punjabi and Urdu, was told that famous Pakistani artist Madeeha Gohar is in Punjab, he curiously asked, “Fauj ne use Girfftar keon nahi kiya” (Why army failed to arrest her?). When reminded that she came on valid visa, then he asked another question, “Visa kaise milta hai, mujhe keon nahin diya giya” (how does one get visa, and why didn’t I get one?), showing his innocence about the laws of heavily guarded borders.
Moved by his story, the Child Development and Project Officer (CDPO) and Juvenile Home in-charge, Chhinderpal Kaur, called the boy to give him money to buy a T-shirt and a jeans of his choice.
Nasir has urged the authorities to allow him to watch some TV programmes.
HT found out that so far 12 Pakistani children remained lodged in the Faridkot juvenile home after they crossed the border unknowingly.
According to available records, all the 12 children lodged in the juvenile home were found innocent.
However, they remained confined to the juvenile home for 30 to 52 months. About six children, some of them were not even able to tell the name of their mother-father and the village, who crossed border while playing with fellow friends remained lodged in the home for more than 40 months.