2 February 2023

By Rehan Piracha


Pakistan awaiting Indian response to a consular access request for Pakistani girl Iqra Jeewani who was arrested in India last month, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told Voicepk.net on Thursday.

The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi has written to Indian authorities to seek confirmation of the media reports over the arrest of the 19-year-old Pakistani girl in Bengaluru city on January 23 for forging identity documents and illegally entering India from the Nepal border. According to Indian media reports, the girl had married an Indian national Mulayam Singh Yadav, 26, whom she met online popular video game application Ludo last year. She flew to Dubai where she took a flight to Kathmandu in September last year. After landing in Nepal, she married Yadav and illegally crossed into India from the Nepal border. The couple settled in Bengaluru city where Yadav, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, worked as a security guard. Yadav forged Indian identity documents with a false name for Iqra in Bengaluru city, Bengaluru police said.

“The High Commission for Pakistan, New Delhi, has approached the Indian authorities to seek confirmation of the media reports regarding the individual in question. The Mission has also sought information about her whereabouts and requested for grant of consular access. The response from the Indian side is awaited,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a written response to a question about what measures have been taken for the girl’s early repatriation to Pakistan.

Speaking to Voicepk.net from Hyderabad city, Sohail Jeewani, father of the girl, appealed to both governments of India and Pakistan to expedite the deportation process for reuniting his daughter with her family in Pakistan.

Iqra was lured to Nepal by Yadav impersonating as a Indian Muslim: family


According to Sohail Jeewani, his daughter was lured to travel secretly to Dubai and Kathmandu by Yadav who posed as an Indian Muslim with the name of Sameer Ansari.  He claimed that Yadav had bought air tickets for Iqra from a travel agency located in Bengaluru city.

“Iqra went missing on September 19, 2022, when she did not return from her college, FG College in Hyderabad,” Sohail Jeewani said. He registered a kidnapping first information report (FIR) at the City police station on the same day, nominating unknown suspects under section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code about kidnapping, abducting, or inducing a woman for a forceful marriage.

Around 12 days after her disappearance, the family received a call from Iqra saying she had married an Indian named Sameer Ansari who worked as a manager in an information technology firm. However, the family received no calls from her after that and came to know of Iqra’s arrest through media reports.  Sohail Jeewani said he also approached the Federal Investigation Agency to help track her travel history and current whereabouts. He expressed unawareness about how Iqra was able to secure a United Arab Emirates visa for travelling to Dubai. For SAARC countries, Nepal has a policy for giving a visa on arrival at Kathmandu airport.

Sohail Jeewani said he has submitted applications to the federal foreign and interior ministries seeking their assistance for his teenage daughter’s return to Pakistan.  “She is my only daughter and we are worried about her fate in India,” he added.

The long road to repatriation
According to sources in the Foreign Office, Indian authorities allow consular access to Pakistani nationals detained there on a quarterly basis usually within three months. Once consular access is given, Pakistani High Commission officials in New Delhi meet the detained national in jail and conduct his/her interview to ascertain the circumstances leading to the detention. The Pakistani officials also inquire whether the detained national was tortured or abused in custody, the sources said. After the consular access, the Pakistani High Commission staff sends documents/details for verification of the detainee’s Pakistani nationality to Islamabad. The duration of the verification of the detainee’s Pakistani nationality depends on whether he/she is registered with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and whether family members can attest to his nationality to police officials during an on-ground visit to the place of residency in Pakistan.

If the detained national is arrested in connection with an Indian court case, he/she might remain detained during the trial and serve any imprisonment given in the case. Once the Pakistani national has completed the sentence, the Pakistani High Commission will write to the Indian authorities for the repatriation of their citizen to Pakistan.

No counsel provided to Iqra Jeewani: sources


According to Bengaluru police, Iqra Jeewani is incarcerated in Bengaluru Central Jail in judicial custody. She has been charged under offences of Section 7(2) of the Foreigners Act and sections 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Indian Penal Code. The charges carry a sentence between two to seven years. Police sources said  Iqra Jeewani had not been provided a lawyer yet in the case.

India is yet to repatriate 128 prisoners who have served sentences


According to a list of prisoners exchanged between the two countries on January 1st, there were 434 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 339 civilian prisoners and 95 fishermen. Similarly, 705 Indian prisoners are detained in Pakistan, including 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen.

Pakistan had requested for early release and repatriation of its 51 civilian prisoners and 94 fishermen, who have completed their respective sentences and their national status stands confirmed. Last month,  17 Pakistani nationals, released by Indian authorities on completion of their prison sentences, were repatriated to their home country via the Wagah-Attari border.
(With additional reporting by Sukanya Shantha, senior reporter The Wire, in Mumbai)


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