Freed from Pak jails, they have no place to go

Freed from Pak jails, they have no place to go

At least eight Indians, including a woman, released from Pakistan jails nearly a decade ago still have no place to go. Many of them are suffering from mental illness.

None of their family members or friends have ever visited them since their release 10-years ago.

These former jail inmates have been lodged at the institute of mental health facility in Amritsar which has been their home from the day they crossed the Atari-Wagah border in Punjab in 2007 after their release. The hospital authorities are in a fix.

They say they have made efforts to help these persons not just battle their illness but to also reunite them with their families.

So far, all efforts have been avail. Doctors say that their mental illness may possibly have been because of the pathetic period in isolation spent languishing in Pakistan jail for years. What has compounded the problem is that many of them have no recollection of their whereabouts back home. They also have just a faint recollection of their stay in jail in Pakistan.

B L Goel, the director of the institute, says the institute tried to get details of their families, but efforts went in vain. Doctors say, many of them often ask where they are which explains their unstable state of mind. Doctors aren’t sure if their mental illness was present even before they strayed into Pakistan and were arrested by Pakistan Rangers. In all, there were 17 Indians who were released by Pakistan in 2007. 

Nine of them had their families waiting at the border to receive them. The other eight found a way into the mental institute.

One of them is Dev, who feels incapacitated to explain why and under what circumstances he strayed into Pakistan. He says he wants to go home, but the authorities cannot help him.

Meanwhile, at the transit camp of the Amritsar jail, as many as 30 Pakistani nationals are awaiting their release for years after completion of their jail term. Their release has been stuck since their high commission is yet to confirm their nationality as Pakistanis.

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