A 17-year-old Pakistani boy, who has been languishing in a juvenile home in Punjab's Hoshiarpur town for inadvertently crossing the international border in 2018, will now reunite with his family after two years on January 14, officials said on Saturday. He will be handed over to the Pakistan Rangers at the Attari-Wagah joint check post between India and Pakistan. He belongs to Pakistan's Kasur district.
A case relating to the repatriation of the Pakistani boy Mubshar Bilal is pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and is listed for the next hearing on January 15.
But ahead of the hearing, the Union Home Ministry, in a communication to the juvenile home authorities, has said Mubshar, popularly known as Mubarak, along with another Pakistani boy Sajjad Haider who is in a detention center in Delhi, will be repatriated.
Legal-cum-Probation Officer Sukhjinder Singh told IANS that the boy was acquitted by the juvenile justice board on September 4, 2018.
Now, on the direction of the Union Home Ministry he would be released, he said.
The boy's counsel Gurpreet Sandhu, who is based in Chandigarh, told IANS that the boy, who belongs to a very poor family, was found sleeping by the Border Security Force (BSF) under a tree on the Indian side of the border in Tarn Taran district on the night of February 27, 2018.
His house is located just 20-25 feet away from the Indian territory.
Sandhu said in the last hearing on December 17, 2019, the high court had fixed January 15 as the next date of hearing on his plea.
He said the boy's case was narrated by a journalist in Pakistan to Bathinda-based lawyer Harpal Singh Khara during his visit there.
Khara approached Sandhu to file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking his release.