Thanks to her, my mission was finally successful!The door opened and a strong wind entered the hut. It extinguished the gently-flickering lamp and a very familiar female voice whispered in my ear to follow her.
"But that was not the original plan" - I thought. Nevertheless, I followed her out of the small hut. She held my hand firmly and despite the darkness, expertly guided me to the paddy field outside the hut inside which I had been waiting. After some time, she suddenly whispered in my ear to lie down. Lying down, I could see the movement of a Long Range Patrol (LRP) approaching the paddy field. "Halt!"
The harsh command of the Patrol-leader was immediately followed by the dazzling brilliance of flares, which temporarily illuminated the night sky and blinded my vision. I thought that death was imminent. After successfully completing my mission at Muridke, Dera Adam Khel and Dera Ismail Khan, was I going to die or get captured at the border while returning? How could I save and deliver my information and documents kept in the microfilms? All these thoughts came to my mind within seconds. Silently I brought out my trusted Heckler & Koch. I would not go down without fighting. She appeared unperturbed and hissed: "Start crawling to the other side of the field. Don't bother about snakes; it is winter."
The LRP of Sutlej Rangers obviously suspected something. However, the patrolling party did not make any attempt to enter the paddy field. But the Rangers remained on the road. Fortunately, they didn't bring any dog. We started crawling towards the east. After some time, she said: 'You remain here. Let me check." She silently left. Returning later, she announced: "Change of plan! They are covering the fencing. You have to cross the river."
The original plan was to enter India through the barbed-wire fencing. Indian Army had earlier been informed about my return, and it was decided to stop the electricity (high-voltage current passes through the barbed-wire to prevent infiltration) from 0000 Hour to 0400 Hour to facilitate my return. But now the plan went haywire. Ultimately we reached the bank of Kishenganga River. It was 0330 Hour.
She gave the last instruction. "Take off your boots. Jump to the river silently. Cross the river, other bank is India. But don't forget the patrolling-party on that side also. Beware of friendly fire because the Indian Army unit doesn't know the change of plan. Note the dimly-lit lamp of the Indian Army post. That is your destination. Khuda Hafeez!"
Anisa, an important member of the band of smugglers operating in that area, had been my contact in Pakistan throughout my entire stay. Without her help, my mission would not be successful. Even at the last stage, she was providing invaluable support. I took off my boots, checked the microfilms kept in a water-tight container, bid farewell to Anisa and jumped into the ice-cold water.
The sound reached the patrolling-party. Speculative firing started. Suddenly a random bullet struck my left thigh. Despite severe pain, I continued swimming and reached the opposite bank. Back to India!
I saw the dimly-lit lamp of the Indian camp. It was almost at a distance of one kilometer. Entering the Sarkanda grass jungle, I started limping towards the post. I wondered why such dim light of a lamp was used. Later I remembered that electricity had been stopped for my own safe return.
After an hour, I, half-conscious due to loss of excessive blood, reached the perimeter- defense of the post. By the grace of Almighty, I reached my destination: the dimly-lit 17 Garhwal Rifles post.