Friday, December 5, 2008

City has 1100 Pak nationals, many seek citizenship

When country’s top intelligence and security systems are working round the clock to fish out moles and active modules sent to India from

terror camps in Pakistan, it may be surprising to know that more than 1100 Pakistani nationals, most of them Hindus, are living in the city. Actually, some 280 of them have applied for Indian citizenship.

According to a source in city police, approximately 1050 Hindus, 45 Muslims and 15 Sikhs and others from Pakistan are currently staying in the Orange city. Sources also pointed out that around 280 Hindus of Pakistani nationality have applied for Indian citizenship. A couple have already been granted Indian citizenship. Some 300 Pak nationals are staying on long-term visas. As per rules, an applicant has to spend seven years in India to become eligible to apply for citizenship. Two Bangladeshi Muslims are also presently staying in the city.

City police’s data also show that around 25 Pakistani nationals who came to city are at present untraceable. Senior officials from the intelligence say that the list of the untraceable Pakistanis is quite old. None of them was present at the designated address when verification was last done. A source said the untraced Pak nationals had remained under cover and did not get themselves registered. “Even if they are alive, they must be very old by now,” said a source from intelligence department.

Migration to India from Pakistan, especially for Hindus, is a regular phenomenon. The most common reason is reunion with families that separated during partition of India. “Residing in an Islamic country also means one often has to face harassment and humiliation,” says Mahesh Tharwani, a migrant who got Indian citizenship about a decade ago.

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