'Missing' Indian Sikh found, to be sent back to India

A 24-year-old Indian Sikh, who had gone missing in Pakistan during Baisakhi festival celebrations, was found from his Facebook friend's home in Punjab province's Sheikhupura city and efforts are on to send him back to India, an official has said.

'Missing' Indian Sikh found, to be sent back to India
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LAHORE: A 24-year-old Indian Sikh, who had gone missing in Pakistan during Baisakhi festival celebrations, was found from his Facebook friend's home in Punjab province's Sheikhupura city and efforts are on to send him back to India, an official has said.

Amarjit Singh, a resident of Amritsar, had arrived in Pakistan along with other 1,700 Sikh pilgrims to celebrate Baisakhi festival on April 12. But his disappearance was only noticed when the Indian pilgrim group prepared to return to India.

He will be sent back to India via the Wagah border today, the Express Tribune reported.

Confirming that Singh had been traced, spokesperson of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Amir Hashmi said that Singh will be handed over to the Indian authorities.

"Amarjit Singh has been found and will be sent back to India today. Singh on his arrival to Nankana Sahib had left the group to meet his Facebook friend - Amir Razzak - in Sheikhupura (some 30km from Nankana Sahib). 

"In fact the family of Razzak contacted the board and told it about his (Singh) stay at his residence. Both Singh and Razzak visited the ETPB office in Lahore and told it that he (Singh) had not gone missing," Hashmi told PTI. 

He said, Singh told the board that he thought that he had a one month visa and he would return the country after spending a couple of weeks with his friend here.

The ETPB collects passports from the visiting pilgrims and returns them on their departure to their homeland.

A source told PTI that Pakistani intelligence agencies have quizzed Singh for 'several hours' after he went 'missing'. 

"After it was established that he had not deliberately disappeared and had no links with the Indian intelligence agency, Singh was handed over to the ETPB to be deported to India," he said.

According to investigation by the ETPB, Singh separated himself on April 16 from the visiting Sikh group members on a visit to Gurdwara Janamestan in Nankana Sahib (some 80km from Lahore). 

The ETB came to know about his disappearance when Singh did not turn up on April 21 along with other visiting Indian Sikhs at the Wagah railway station to leave for India. 

Singh and others had a valid Pakistani visa till April 21.

Singh's disappearance came at the heels of another visiting Indian pilgrim Kiran Bala, who married a Pakistani man Mohammad Azam, a resident of Lahore, and applied for Pakistani citizenship. 

She had arrived Lahore on April 12 to attend the Baisakhi festival. She has applied for Pakistan citizenship and extension to her visa. 

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