Pakistan has sent a rare message of thanks to arch-rival India after a five-year-old boy, who was taken to India by his father nearly a year ago was reunited with his Pakistani mother.
Ifthikar Ahmed was handed over to Rohina Kiani by border officials in the town of Wagah in Punjab province on Saturday evening following a long legal battle seeking his return from his father, Gulzar Ahmad Tantray.
The case created a media stir and shone a spotlight on the two countries’ decades-long dispute over divided Kashmir, over which they have fought two full-scale wars.
Ms. Kiani, a resident of the Pakistani-controlled part of the territory, told AFP on Sunday she was overwhelmed with happiness and prepared to forgive her estranged husband, who is from Kashmir.
“I’m extremely happy and unable to express my joy. I pardon my husband and hope he will also join us soon to live with us here in Pakistan,” she told AFP.
Mr. Tantray was among thousands who crossed the de facto border into Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir while an insurgency was at its peak in the Indian sector. He later married Ms. Kiani, but wanted the family to return to his home village following the birth of their son. When Ms. Kiani refused, Mr. Tantray absconded with the child last March.
Ms. Kiani pursued a custody case in an Indian court through the Pakistani embassy in New Delhi, and the court ruled in her favour.
“We are thankful to Indian authorities for their cooperation in this humanitarian matter,” Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit tweeted.