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Kashmiri militants in PoK want to return home
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April 09, 2006 19:48 IST

It was sheer desperation to meet his family members that forced Kashmiri youth Nasir Ahmed Khan to return to his homeland 16 years after he crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for arms training.

And as he surrendered before security forces on Friday, the youth also narrated the plight of hundreds like him who wanted to return to their homeland, triggering a debate among the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] leadership of the need to ensure their safe return.     

Khan, a resident of Sultan Daki area of Uri, 100 km from Srinagar [Images], had crossed over to PoK in 1990, got married there, and was working for the militant outfit Islamic Front after receiving arms training.

He surrendered before the security forces at Nanak post in Uri after crossing over the Line of Control [Images] along with his wife and four children. Khan said that hundreds of Kashmiri youth who had gone to PoK for arms training in 1990 had expressed their willingness to cross over to this side and live a normal life.

Feeling homesick, the youth pleaded with Kashmiri leaders, including National Conference chief Omar Abdullah and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Y Tarigami who had recently gone to Pakistan to attend a conference, that they have realised the futility of the gun and want to return to their homeland.

The return of these youth from PoK was even echoed in the state legislature but the government stated that there was no proposal to facilitate the return of these renegade militants. 

Transport Minister Ram Sharma, however, assured that the matter would be taken up at appropriate time. The issue has opened a debate in the state with leaders cutting across party lines calling upon the government to facilitate return of the youth.

National conference president Omar Abdullah who raised the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on his return from Pakistan last month said the youth need to be given a chance to live a peaceful life.

Other leaders of the party, including legislators Ali Mohammad Sagar and Saifullah Mir, also pleaded that government should consider facilitating the return of the youths who crossed over to the other side of LoC during the height of militancy and now want to live a peaceful life.

These youths should be given a chance to return to their homes as their mothers and sisters are waiting for their return, they said, adding the return of these youths was necessary to make ongoing peace process comprehensive, broad based and result oriented.

Tarigami who moved a resolution in the state assembly, which was rejected, said few years back it looked almost impossible that India and Pakistan would come close but the way things are changing predicts that the day is very near when government will allow these youths to meet their dear ones.

People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, addressing a rally in Srinagar to mark the first anniversary of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service on April 7 made a fervent appeal to the Centre to take steps to ensure return of Kashmiri youths presently in PoK.

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