More than three decades after his father strayed across the Pakistan border while grazing cattle, 36-year-old Hasam Khan still waits for his return. Khan was just five-year-old in 1986 when his father, Jamaldeen, inadvertently stepped into Pakistani territory from the neighbouring Bandha Village in this district and was put behind bars in the Karachi Jail on charges of spying. As the world celebrates Father’s Day, Khan struggles to hold back his tears as he recalls his childhood with Jamaldeen who used take him for long walks near the international border. “Whenever I see him in old photographs, I sleep with the hope that he will return home safely and we will be a happy family once again,” Khan says.
The escalation of tension between India and Pakistan and the death sentence to Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav worry him. “We continued to receive his letters till 1990 when he was lodged in Karachi jail. His letters kept me and my mother in high-spirits. But, it’s been 17 years now and there is no information about his whereabouts,” he said. Khan expresses disappointment that political leaders and government officials did not bother about his plight. “The Kulbushan Jadhav death sentence has revived my fear that all is not well. I met top officials in Jaipur and New Delhi and ran from pillar to post for years but unfortunately all attempts went in vain,” he said expressing hope that the government will take up his father’s case as seriously as it has taken Jadhav’s.