One mentally disabled person who was unarmed was killed in broad daylight in Shakargarh sector on the Pakistani side of the working boundary after India’s Border Security Force (BSF) allegedly opened fire when he inadvertently crossed the border.
Pakistan Rangers Punjab officials confirmed to The Express Tribune on Wednesday that a man identified as Iftikhar s/o Khursheed, who was a resident of village Nagal, tehsil Shakargarh, district Narowal, was shot four times when he accidentally went near the working boundary between India and Pakistan.
According to Pakistan Rangers, there is an agreement between both the neighbours’ border forces that if any civilian – who is unarmed – mistakenly crosses the border, then the BSF and Rangers are bound to return the citizen to the respective country after preliminary interrogation.
Iftikhar, a 33-year-old father of three, used to work in a paper-manufacturing factory in Lahore.
For the last two years, he was receiving medical treatment from Dr Regina Mehmood of the Punjab Institute of Mental Health and his last check-up was on June 25.
The family of the deceased claims that Iftikhar went missing on Monday evening. His family looked for him in Nagal but a resident of nearby village Karol told them that he saw a man who fit Iftikhar’s description go towards the border.
His family arrived at the Karol check post and contacted BSF about anyone who had strayed across the border, but their reply was negative. Finally, the body was handed over to Pakistan Rangers after post-mortem.
The local residents questioned why Iftikhar was killed in broad daylight and not apprehended alive by BSF, as he was not carrying any weapon or other item. They also asked why his post-mortem was carried out by BSF in India, terming it a human rights violation.
Some residents also protested against the repeated killing of innocent villagers and other working boundary violations by BSF that have also caused losses to their livestock and property.
Iftikhar is reportedly the second civilian to be killed in this year’s border violations.
As per the mutual agreement, Pakistan Rangers have returned many Indian citizens to BSF when they have accidently crossed the border.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.