An ailing Indian youth, who had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan’s Sindh province in 2013, was released from a Karachi jail after five years and taken to Wagah border where he was received by Red Cross officials on Thursday, reports said.
However, no one from his family was present at Attari-Wagah border where a Red Cross ambulance was waiting for him, just few metres away from the ‘zero line’.
Twenty-one-year-old Jetindaera Arjanwara, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, is suffering from a blood disorder, sickle cell anaemia, which requires regular blood transfusion.
Jetindaera’s release comes after a month-long coordinated campaign by both Pakistani and Indian civil society activists. His repatriation was earlier confirmed by the Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad.
The decision to release Jetindaera was taken after intervention by a Pakistani barrister, Haya Zahid, who was briefed about his case by Hyderabad juvenile jail officials in Sindh province in 2014. Zahid was at the time inspecting sanitary conditions in provincial jails as part of a government-mandated committee. Jetindaera, who was a teenager at the time, had already completed the customary jail sentence by then.
Jetindaera’s release comes close on the heels of 23-year-old Dalwinder Singh being handed back to the BSF on Sunday, after he had inadvertently crossed over last March at Kasur’s Ballanwala village on the other side of the border. He was sent back by Pakistan over the weekend after having served time in a Pakistani jail.
Jetindaera’s release was, however, much delayed. While he was picked up in 2013, for the next four years, through the highs and lows of the India-Pakistan relationship, Jetindaera became another statistic — one of 58 Indian civil prisoners that Pakistan says reside in its jails, forgotten by mostly everybody (India has 56 Pakistani civil prisoners in its jail, the Supreme Court was recently told.) Until Zahid, once again, spotted him in February 2018, on one of her many rounds, this time in Malir jail in Karachi.
By 2018, Jetindaera was seriously ill. Doctors at Malir jail insisted his condition be brought to the notice of the Pakistani government as well as Indian officials. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan later formally asked for his repatriation.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani government “decided to release/repatriate Jetindaera Arjanwara s/o Ishura Parshad, an Indian prisoner (civil) on 4th May 2018.” He was released and handed over to his family one day in advance, on May 3. After his release, he was taken to Amritsar civil hospital.