Pakistan’s interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has directed authorities to verify the nationality of a Pakistani woman languishing in a jail in Jammu and Kashmir so that she can be brought back home.
The case of Rubeena and her minor daughter, who have been held in different jails in Jammu for four years, was first reported by Hindustan Times.
She was sent to jail after her husband allegedly abandoned her in Delhi and the Pakistan high commission refused to confirm her nationality to facilitate her deportation.
An interior ministry spokesperson said Khan had directed the chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to verify the documents of Rubeena and determine whether she had Pakistani nationality, the Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.
If the woman is a Pakistani national, arrangements should be made along with the foreign ministry for her early repatriation, Khan said. He gave Nadra a 24-hour deadline to look into the matter and send a report to him.
Rights lawyer Mir Shafaqat, who is handling Rubeena’s case, said she was a resident of Hyderabad in Pakistan’s Sindh province and travelled to New Delhi in November 2012 for the treatment of asthma. She was accompanied by her husband and her daughter, who was then four months old.
Rubeena, who is in her late twenties, told Shafaqat that her husband abandoned her in New Delhi and disappeared with money and passport. Indian authorities told a court in Jammu and Kashmir that the Pakistani mission did not confirm Rubeena’s nationality on the basis of information provided to it.
After Shafaqat provided more information on Rubeena, officials told the court that the external affairs ministry had been directed to take up her case with the Pakistani mission. They also said she could not be sent to Pakistan till her identity is verified.
When Rubeena was abandoned by her husband, people gave her money and sent her to the Wagah border crossing but Pakistani authorities did not allow her to enter the country because she did not have travel documents. Rubeena was then sent to Kashmir, where she was arrested in November 2012.