NEW DEHLI/ SUJAWAL: With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jet-setting on a seven-day tour of Ireland and the United States, it is increasingly unlikely that his promise to release Pakistani fishermen languishing in Indian jails will materilise before Eidul Azha. Among them is 13-year-old Ghulam Hussain from Sujawal in Sindh, whose nationality has been verified by local administration.
“The boy has not been released due to want of some verification process by both countries,” the Devbhoomi Dwarka police superintendent Jagdish Patel told reporters.
Hussain and his father Muhammad Jumman were caught in the territorial net between Pakistan and India in March 2014 along with two other fishermen when their boat strayed over the invisible border near the disputed Sir Creek. After Indian maritime authorities apprehended them, Jumman was shifted to a jail in Jamnagar, while Hussain was admitted to an observation home.
Read: Pakistan asks India to repatriate teenager languishing in Gujarat jail
When Jumman was finally released last Eid, along with 87 other Pakistani fishermen, he thought his son was part of their group. But it wasn’t until he landed in Pakistan he discovered that Hussain had been left behind.
While Sujawal district administration recently verified that Hussain was indeed a resident of the Shah Bander Tehsil, India says his verification process has yet to be completed.
“All other fishermen, including the boy’s father, were released after their identities were verified in a process conducted by representatives of the External Affairs Ministry of both the countries in Jaipur last year,” cited the official.
But Jumman, who is illiterate, argues how is it that his son’s nationality cannot be verified while his has. “If I am Pakistani, it is only natural that my son is also a Pakistani.”
Read: Pakistan releases 113 Indian fishermen
Meanwhile, Friday may be another Eid for Hussain’s mother without her son. When Jumman had returned home before Eidul Fitr, she had said despite her entire family gathering around her, she could not celebrate Eid without Hussain.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2015.
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