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How did a dream life in Canada land an Indian woman, her minor son in Pakistani jail for 18 months?

Last year, Wahida, hailing from Nagaon district in Assam, found herself apprehended alongside her son as they crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan through the Chaman border unlawfully. She explained to the authorities that she fell victim to deception by an Indian travel agent.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Islamabad Updated on: May 30, 2024 21:05 IST
Assam Wahida Begum Faiz Khan in Pakistani jail
Image Source : PIXABAY REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE

An Indian woman and her minor son, both victims of human trafficking, were handed over to Indian forces at the Wagah border after they completed their sentence for illegally entering Pakistan last year, a Pakistani official said on Thursday. Wahida Begum and her minor son Faiz Khan were released from a jail in Quetta, Balochistan province after they completed their jail term and handed over to the Border Security Force at the Wagah border crossing on Wednesday.

According to federal government officials, Wahida, a resident of Nagaon district in Assam, was arrested along with her son while illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan via the Chaman border last year. Wahida told the authorities that she had been deceived by an Indian travel agent due to which she reached Pakistan.

How did Wahida Begum and her son plan to settle in Canada?

"After the death of my husband in 2022, I decided to take my son to Canada. For this purpose, I sold my property and paid a hefty sum of money to an Indian agent," she said in her statement to police in Pakistan. She said that the agent travelled with them to Dubai and from there to Afghanistan last year. He promised to take the mother and son to Canada from Afghanistan.

"However, in Afghanistan, he took all of my money and our passports and managed to flee," she said.

Wahida further said that to reach her homeland (India), she and her son crossed into Pakistan via the Chaman border where they were arrested by the Pakistani authorities (under the Foreigners Act).
"Later we were provided consular access and the process of verifying our citizenship took several months," she said and added her Pakistani lawyer informed her mother back in India about their ordeal.
Subsequently, Wahida's family contacted the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and the Indian High Commission in Islamabad seeking their help for their safe return.

Assam woman and her son returns 

The Indian High Commission officials reportedly took up her case with the interior ministry in Islamabad. Finally on Wednesday Wahida and her son were released upon completing their sentence and were handed over to the BSF at Wagah border. Besides them, two other Indian citizens -- Shabir Ahmed and Suraj Pal --- were also handed over to the BSF on Wednesday.
Ahmed was released from Karachi's Malir Jail while Pal was set free from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail after completing their sentences.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Four Pakistanis killed after Iranian forces open fire from across border in Balochistan's Washuk

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