Militant for 10 years in Pakistan, returned back to lead a normal life

Militant for 10 years in Pakistan, returned back to lead a normal life

Jammu June 24: Mukhtar Ahmed is hoping for some normalcy in his life, now that he’s back in his home village in Poonch in Jammu. Mukhtar is not just any villager of the area. A militant, training for 10 years in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PAK), he decided to give up arms and returned to India last week, with his Pakistani wife and three kids hoping to lead a life sans violence and death.

The decision hasn’t been without danger and risk. Crossing over ‘illegally’ to India from the Mendhar sector, he and his family had to dodge the Pakistani Army and border surveillance mechanisms of India and Pakistan. \”All I want to do now is to lead a peaceful life and that desire pushed me to take the risk,\” he explains.

So after escaping from the Pakistani army, Mukhtar and his family were spotted by the Indian Army and arrested. They were then questioned and handed over to the Jammu Police. Only after Jammu police finished interrogating him was he then let off to meet his family.

His return to India was expectedly emotional for his family that was seeing him after 10 years. His wife Sofia says marriage changed Mukhtar.

\”I knew he has received arms training, but I married him and after marriage my father did not allow him to remain a militant\”, Sofia says.

Mukhtar ran away from home as a 15-year-old, he says with an idea of fighting for the creation of an independent Kashmir. He was trained at different militant camps in Pakistan. But soon that idea disillusioned him and he wanted to give it all up and return to his village.

Mukhtar told the Jammu police that special militant squads are being raised in PAK. \”He told us there is a refresher course going on for 50 militants at a training camp in PAK\”, says the IG of Jammu Police, Dilbagh Singh.

Earlier this month another youth from the neighbouring Rajouri district crossed the LoC into India after giving up militancy. The return, made possible by the rehabilitation policy of the government. This policy is for people born in India and received militancy training in PAK. The policy offers monetary help and rehabilitation to people who want to want to give arms and return to the mainstream in India.

But the policy has failed to take off as government sources say there is no cooperation from the Pakistani side. The rehabilitation policy has fixed four points of entry into India for militant wanting to legally return to India. These are the IGI airport in Delhi, the Wagah border in Punjab, and Poonch and URI at the LoC. But non-cooperation from the Pakistani authorities forces people like Mukhtar to use illegal routes. As a result, over the last two years, just about a 100 men have returned, most of them clandestinely from Nepal.

[State Observer]

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