Millennium Post

India returns soldier who crossed LoC for love

A 19-year-old Pakistani soldier, who had crossed over to this side of the Line of Control [LoC] in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, possibly on the lookout for his lady love, was on Friday repatriated by the Indian Army as a goodwill gesture.

There were varying reports on Arif Ali's intrusion. One said that he had fallen in love with a girl in Kerni village, which is located on the Zero Line opposite to Pakistani posts.

According to the account, Ali took leave on the pretext of going home but crossed over, suspecting that the girl's parents might get her married to a relative in Poonch.

Another version was that he had crossed the LoC to seek asylum in India after being fed up with the attitude of his Pakistani seniors.

'We have repatriated the jawan back to Pakistani authorities as a goodwill gesture today,' Brigade Commander Poonch Brigade, Brig M K Magoo, told reporters in Poonch.

The custody of Ali was transferred to the Pakistan Army at a flag meeting along the LoC in Chakan-Da-Bagh Crossing Point in Poonch district at 1010 hours.

The meeting was attended by Major Hamid Gul of 653 Mujahid Regiment from Pakistan and Major A Manhas on this side.

During questioning, the soldier claimed that he was mentally disturbed when he crossed over to the Indian side, Magoo said.

Ali, who is part of Pakistani Army's 25 Frontier Force [FF], and is posted at Saifullah along the LoC in PoK, was arrested in Kerni forward area in Poonch district by Indian troops on Thursday. He is a resident of Quetta.

Police sources said over Rs 13,000 in Pakistani currency along with two SIM cards, a leave certificate issued by the Frontier Force and a photo identity were found on him.

In October 2011, as a friendly gesture, Pakistan had allowed an Indian helicopter that had strayed across from Kargil to return to India within four hours.
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