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Five Indians airlifted to Islamabad from PoK

Source: PTI
October 12, 2005 20:24 IST
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Five Indians from Jammu and Kashmir, who were in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir when the earthquake hit the region, were airlifted to Islamabad on Wednesday.

However, two more nationals, Jagdish Lal Tandon and Shubash Tandon could not be brought to the Chakala airbase near Rawalpindi as the helicopter was overcrowded. They would be brought back later on Wednesday or on Thursday.

The five Sikhs, headed by Avtar Singh, were received by Indian High Commisisoner Shiv Shankar Menon and Deputy Indian High Commissioner C K A Raghavan at the Chakala airbase.

They were identified as Kirpal Singh, Jarmeet Singh, Gurucharan Singh and Surmik Singh - who went to Muzaffarabad by the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus on October 6.

While one of the passengers on the bus, identified as Basti Ram Tandon, died in the October eight quake, the whereabouts of others on the bus is not known.

Narrating his experience, Avtar Singh said he was waiting for breakfast at his relative's house in Garhi Dupatta village in PoK when the quake struck.

"It was a terrible scene at the house as it collapsed killing several of my relatives. We survived because we were waiting for breakfast outside the house," he said.

Singh, who was born in Sarai village in Muzaffarabad, said he wanted to see his village after a gap of 57 years, but could not make it due to the devastating quake.

Menon said the five Indians would be put up at a guest house on Wednesday and would be sent to the Wagah border on Thursday for their onward journey to their native place.

One of the injured Indian national, Jagdish Lal Tandon, will be admitted to a hospital in Islamabad, he added.

Thanking the Pakistan government for taking "special interest" in locating Indian nationals and bringing them to Chakala airbase, Menon said efforts would be made to locate other missing Indians.

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