Nothing is more heartrending than having to wait for a family member who is presumed either missing or worse. The pain becomes double for a family that is overly dependent on a single bread earner that has met an unknown fate. This is especially true in the case of fishermen who were caught by the Indian army while they mistakenly crossed the borders. One of the worst aspects of this is that often the family of the detainees doesn’t know the fate of their family member. Alive, dead, or died during the imprisonment…anything grim is possible. However, many times the governments step in and Pakistan and India exchange prisoners. Some lucky souls often get released due to the timely intervention of governments and are able to meet the family they left behind.
One such lucky soul was Sumaira Rehman, the woman who had been imprisoned in Banglore, India for four years for a crime she never committed. She was released along with her 4-year-old daughter, Sana Fatima. The mother and daughter were handed to Pakistani authorities at Wagah Border on Saturday. Pakistani High Commission officials accompanied Sumaira along with her daughter. She still has to go through some legal documentation and processes to be fully released and complete her migration. However, Sumaira is officially no longer a prisoner.
According to the information given by PMLN Senator Irfan Siddiqui, her family was present at the Wagah Border to receive her. The concerned authorities would take one or two days to decide Sumaira’s fate. After that, Sumaira would be free to travel anywhere she wants to. Irfan Siddiqui further stated that he was grateful to Allah that the oppressed daughters of the country were returned to their homes.
Sumaira does have a say in what path she will choose. She will make a decision after seeing her relatives. The senator further demanded that the relevant officials be held accountable for not taking this issue seriously. The issue had been raised before in 2018 but it wasn’t processed properly. Sumaira’s return to her family is proof that with timely intervention and good efforts, many prisoners can be released and can return to their families. Gestures like these also serve to lessen the hostility between India and Pakistan.