Pakistani refugees lose hope on Indian citizenship, plan to return

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A group of Pakistani Hindu and Sikhs residing in India have given up their hopes of getting Indian citizenship and will be returning to Pakistan. The Indian government is yet to announce the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which was passed nearly a year ago by the Indian Parliament. Refugees count among the 243 Pakistani nationals, including those who are stranded in India due to COVID-19, are permitted to travel via the Wagah border.

“Pak nationals who are staying in India on Long-Term Visa (LTV) or whose application for grant of LTV is under consideration with the authorities are required to obtain an exit permit from the FRRO/FRO concerned,” the Union Home Ministry said while granting “no objection” to the “exit” of the Pakistani nationals

Shreedhar, a 37-year-old refugee who fleed from Umerkot district in Pakistan’s Sindh province to reach India has been residing on a long-term visa and is among those people who hoped to benefit from the CAA but has been waiting ever since. “For the past four years, I have been running to FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) Jodhpur and home ministry in New Delhi to get visas for my wife and children. I have given up now and want to go back,” said Sreedhar, who uses a single name like most other refugees.

The CAA guarantees the granting of Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who faced religious persecution and arrived in India by December 31, 2014. Officials have revealed that the applications from Pakistani refugees wishing to go back have been received mainly from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi. In some cases, harassment and corruption during field verification have come to light, adding to the worries of the refugees, matter experts said.
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