15/10/2015 5:00 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Geeta Is Returning Home To India After Being Stranded In Pakistan For A Decade

RIZWAN TABASSUM via Getty Images
To go with Pakistan-India-missing-diplomacy,FOCUS by Ashraf KHAN This photograph taken on August 3, 2015 shows Indian woman Geeta performing rituals at a women's shelter run the Edhi Foundation in Karachi. Deaf and mute, Geeta has been stuck in Pakistan for 13 years, unable to return to her native India because she cannot remember or explain exactly where she's from. News of Geeta plight surfaced in 2012 but no progress was made in tracing her roots. AFP PHOTO/ RIZWAN TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Geeta, the Indian girl who has been stranded in Pakistan for over a decade, is finally coming home.

The family of the 23-year-old, who has a speech and hearing disability, has been located, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced today.

After reaching Lahore by train, Geeta was spotted by the Pakistan Rangers, and then found her way to the Edhi Foundation, a well-known social welfare group, which has been taking care of the Indian girl for years.

The search for her family was tough to begin with because Geeta was very young when she strayed into Pakistan, and her speech and hearing disability made it hard for her to communicate with her caregivers.

Geeta's story resurfaced after the release of Salman Khan's film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which has a fictional plot about a speech-impaired Pakistani girl who is lost in India.

Bilquis Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation, named her Geeta. Pakistan's prominent human rights lawyer Ansar Burney, who has been leading the search for Geeta's parents, has previously said that Geeta has grown up a Hindu.

Anwar Kazmi, spokesperson for the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation, told Hindustan Times that Geeta identifed her family from a photo that was emailed to them by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

“This family is from Bihar. Geeta identified her parents and four siblings,” Kazmi told the newspaper.

“We now want the authorities to arrange for Geeta to commmunicate with this family via skype. This would help remove any possible confusion. Geeta too has conveyed to us that she wants to communicate with them, “ he added.

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