Gandhinagar : Hope springs eternally in the human heart and the granting of Indian citizenship to Pakistani singer Adnan Sami has raised the aspirations of over 50,000 Hindus of Pakistani origin who have been in Gujarat for over three decades on a long term visa.
They harbour only one hope – Indian citizenship.
By last count over 50,000 Hindus-citizens of Pakistan who sought solace in Gujarat for a variety of reasons – over the last forty-five years have been residing in various parts of Gujarat on a long term visa.
They have been appealing and pleading with the government for Indian citizenship but so far it has, by and large, eluded them.
According to foreigners division of the Gujarat police, there are atleast 10,000 people staying in Ahmedabad alone.
Partition sliced larger Sindh. The Indian part is Kutch and the Pakistani part Sindh. There was large scale migration when the division took place but a fairly large population of Hindus chose to stay back in the Pakistani part. Many of them slowly trickled back to Kutch and other parts of Gujarat. These Hindus though permitted to stay do not propose to return and have been begging and imploring the government to be given Indian citizenship.”It is pure red tape which is holding up the process”, points out one of the members adding “over 3000 applications are lying with the Ahmedabad district collector’s office but the tragedy is that we are nobody’s priority”. A large number of these migrated Hindus are staying with relatives and friends in Sardarnagar, Kubernagar and Naroda Patiya areas of Ahmedabad where most of the Hindus who came from Sindh during partition settled down.
One of the Hindu leaders of the Pakistan migrants said that it was so frustrating that almost 500 of them have chosen to go back to Pakistan against their own will.”They just ran out of patience dealing with the obstructionist attitude of what they perceived was their own government”, he added
A migrant Pakistani citizen is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship even after seven years of stay but cannot buy property or start his own business. He is also required to live in the same district continuously for seven years and needs to take permission from the district administration to move out of the district. A child born of migrant parents has to wait for 14 years before applying for Indian citizenship. Such children also have difficulties in pursuing school and college education, pointed out a community leader.