ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly has been informed that 298 Indian emigrants have been granted Pakistani nationality during the last five years.
“From 2012 till April 14, 2017, a total number of 298 Indian emigrants have been granted Pakistani citizenship,” says a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior in response to a query by MNA Sheikh Rohale Asghar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz during the ongoing session of the lower house of parliament on Saturday.
In 2012, 48 Indian emigrants were granted Pakistani nationality, which rose to 75 in 2013 and 76 in 2014. Only 15 were given nationality in 2015, while 69 got it in 2016, until April 14 this year, 15 Indians got nationality, the statement says.
Pakistan is believed to be a country where getting nationality has always been a difficult task, but innumerable illegal immigrants from many countries, especially Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Burma, are living here, it added.
Pakistan is hosting approximately 1.6 million registered Afghans, while according to some reports, there are another 600,000 undocumented Afghan refugees living in different parts of the country.
There is only one well-known case of awarding Pakistani nationality to an Indian national in the recent past. An Indian woman, whose husband died years ago, was granted Pakistani citizenship on the order of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in March last year.
Her citizenship application had been pending with the ministry since 2008. The woman had been married a Pakistani man a long time back. After his death, her stepsons allegedly deprived her of her inheritance.
In March this year, Nisar had also allowed repatriation of another woman on humanitarian grounds because she was languishing in a jail in Indian Occupied Kashmir along with her minor girl for the past five years. Her repatriation to Pakistan was allowed despite the fact that local authorities were not able to establish her nationality.