Deaf-mute Geeta returns home from Pakistan

New Delhi


Geeta, a young deaf-mute Indian woman who remained stranded in Pakistan for over a decade, arrived here on Monday morning by a Pakistan International Airlines flight, authorities said.

Geeta, 23, was about 11 years of age when she inadvertently crossed the border into Pakistan in 2003. She was spotted by the Pakistan Rangers in Lahore, and was handed over to the Edhi Foundation, a social welfare organisation that has looked after her since then.

Bilquis Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation, named her Geeta.

On Monday, Indian and Pakistani officials were present at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to receive her.

According to Pakistan High Commission here, Geeta, who came to Delhi by a Pakistan International Airlines flight 272, was accompanied by members of the Edhi Foundation.

She was taken to the Ministry of External Affairs directly from the Indira Gandhi International Airport after her flight landed at 10.38 a.m.

Two of her brothers, a sister-in-law, and Indian and Pakistani officials were present at the airport to receive her. The brothers had come to the airport along with their lawyer Mohammad Momin.

"This is where my work ends. My job was to persue the case and get her back to her own country," the lawyer said.

"Now let the government (Indian) and the DNA tests decide when and how the Geeta should be handed over to her parents," he added.

Media in-charge at the Pakistan High Commission Manzoor Ali Memon told media that the commission would hold a reception for Geeta in the evening.

Memon, however, clarified Salman Khan-starer Hindi film 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' had nothing to do with Geeta's homecoming as the process of bringing her back to India was launched much earlier in 2012.

"It's a message of love and affection between the two countries and has nothing to do with the movie," he said.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Friday that Geeta has already identified one family as possibly being that of her parents.

"We will be doing DNA testing to establish conclusive proof. If the DNA tests match, Geeta will be handed over to that family. If not, we have identified suitable institutions where she will be looked after," Swarup said. - IANS