Indian Citizenship for Pakistani nationals?

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New Delhi, Jul 2: At least 7,000 Pakistani nationals seeking a permanent citizenship of India and who has lived in India despite their visas being expired may get Indian citizenship, said Avinash Rai Khanna, Rajya Sabha MP, Punjab.

He further said that those Pak Nationals who were unable to get renunciation certificate from their country, which was earlier required for getting Indian citizenship will also be considered for a citizenship in the country.

7,635 such Pakistani national have been identified by Indian government who have been living in the country before Dec 2004. The cases of these people will be taken up on individual basis.

“People would now be able to get the same from Indian authorities by simply submitting an affidavit," said Khanna adding that the government relaxed norms and adopted a humanistic approach to the matter.

The Pakistani nationals who are to get cleared for citizenship, are mostly Hindus by religion and have fled the country following rape and loot by radical groups. They are now mainly settled in Jalandhar, Panipat, Karnal and Amritsar.

In Neelpur village, Raipur, atleast 25 members are currently residing in Peer Colony. They came to India in 1994 and have been living here since then.

“We are living without voter ID cards, ration cards, and our passports have expired. We moved to India following riots near Loralai in Balochistan in 1994 in which our houses were burnt," said a Pakistani Hindu, Rajesh.

Earlier foreigners in the country especially from Pakistan were relieved from getting the provisions of passport rules to make it easier to get long term visa. A notification on the same was issued by the government on May 15, 2010.

However the main hurdle was to get a renunciation certificate. The reason behind not getting a certificate from Pakistan was that the people in the country were not not having computerised national ID. When the same was being done in Pakistan, the Pakistani nationals were already living in India.

“Life in Pakistan was hell, especially for girls. As Pakistani nationals, we have to go back once every five years and visit our embassy in New Delhi every two years to get our stay permit renewed. We are scared to go back because of the harassment meted out to the members of the minority communities," said Naam Singh, who is from Peshawar.

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