Family of boy languishing in Indian jail seeks help

LAHORE - Javed Iqbal was at home when some of his family members brought him the news, which shook him to the core -- his 14-year-old son Hasnain had been arrested in India.

It has been seven months since the life of Hasnain’s family virtually came to a standstill. Speech and hearing-impaired Hasnain is a resident of the Bhambay Jhuggian locality on Ring Road. His father has urged the government to take measures to bring his son back home.

According to Indian media reports, Hasnain Ali is in a borstal (observation home) in Faridkot District in India. Observation homes are temporary places to keep juveniles until inquiry is pending against them.

There have been conflicting reports in the Indian media about full name of the hearing and speech-impaired boy. However, Hasnain’s father has confirmed his full name is Hasnain Ali and he was born in March 2002.

A report by Neel Kamall in Times of India stated The Baba Farid Centre in Fardikot has offered help to treat Pakistani special child Hasnain.

Talking to The Nation, Javed Iqbal on Friday said his son had been imprisoned in India. “Hasnain is number two among children. He never goes out of Bhambay Jhugian with anyone except his cousin Usman. We don’t know how he crossed into India,” he said.

Javed lives in a rented house of 2.5 marla and pays Rs5,000 rent. He has two sons and five daughters. One of his sons is disabled and daughter is hearing impaired.

Javed says he has been told by the authorities concerned that paperwork has been started and now his passport is awaited. “I wish he comes back soon and reunites with the family. His sisters are waiting for him anxiously,” he said. “He wanted to earn enough so he could support his family,” Javed told this scribe.

Hasnain was arrested by Indian authorities on May 17. “He went missing on May 1. On May 2, 2017, we lodged an FIR in Shadbagh Police Station. It’s approximately one hour drive to the Pakistan-India border. I have no clue how he went out of the locality and crossed the border,” his father said in a low voice.

Child Protection and Welfare Bureau Chairperson Saba Sadiq visited Hasnain’s home and assured his father of his repatriation from India. She said India had confirmed whereabouts of the boy and the Pakistani government had confirmed his citizenship. “We are looking into this matter,” Saba Sadiq said.

She said there is an agreement of repatriation between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has already confirmed Hasnain’s citizenship.

CPBW announced that it would fund education and other expenses of all members of Javed’s family.

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