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SOURCE: PTI

An Indian woman and her minor son, both victims of human trafficking, were handed over to Indian forces at the Wagah border after they completed their sentence of a little over one year for illegally entering Pakistan last year, a Pakistani official said on Thursday.

Wahida Begum and her minor son Faiz Khan were released from a jail in Balochistan province’s Quetta after they completed their jail term of a little over a year and handed over to the Border Security Force at the Wagah border crossing on Wednesday.

According to federal government officials, Wahida, a resident of Nagaon district in Assam, was arrested along with her son while illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan via the Chaman border last year.

Wahida told the authorities here that she had been deceived by an Indian travel agent due to which she reached Pakistan.

“After the death of my husband in 2022, I decided to take my son to Canada. For this purpose, I sold my property and paid a hefty sum of money to an Indian agent,” she said in her statement to police in Pakistan.

She said that the agent travelled with them to Dubai and from there to Afghanistan last year.

He promised to take the mother and son to Canada from Afghanistan.

“However, in Afghanistan, he took all of my money and our passports and managed to flee,” she said.

Wahida further said that to reach India, she and her son crossed into Pakistan via the Chaman border where they were arrested by the Pakistani authorities (under the Foreigners Act).

“Later we were provided consular access and the process of verifying our citizenship took several months,” she said, adding that her Pakistani lawyer informed her mother back in India about their ordeal.

Subsequently, Wahida’s family contacted the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and the Indian High Commission in Islamabad seeking their help for their safe return.

The Indian High Commission officials reportedly took up her case with the interior ministry in Islamabad.

Wahida and her son were released on Wednesday. Besides them, two other Indian citizens — Shabir Ahmed and Suraj Pal — were also handed over to the BSF.

Ahmed was released from Karachi’s Malir Jail while Pal was set free from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail after completing their sentences.