In a letter to Indian premier Narendra Modi, a member of the Ahmadi community in India has urged him to grant citizenship to Pakistani women who are married to Indians and have been living in the country since decades.
Accusing the Modi-led government of religious discrimination, the media in-charge of the Ahmadi Muslim Jamaat in India, Chaudhary Maqbool Ahmad, said, “Our prime minister talks of women empowerment but these women who have been married in India for past 10 to 35 years even can't call themselves Indians, leave alone go out of Qadian."
Qadian, north-east of Amritsar, is the Ahmadi headquarters in India.
Speaking to the Times of India, Maqbool said the external affair ministry's website is proof that only a handful of Muslims are granted Indian citizenship.
“At least nine Pakistani brides in Qadian alone were awaiting Indian citizenship,” he added.
Maqbool himself married a resident of Faislabad, Tahira, in 2003.
"Isn't this discrimination against women?” Tahira, who is yet to receive Indian citizenship, questioned.
Holding bureaucracy responsible for their plight, she said they were made to run between pillar to post even afer having fulfilled all the formalities required for acquiring Indian citizenship.
Another resident of Qadian, Mehmood Ahmad Nasir, who married a woman from Hafizabad 18 years ago, said, "I am a father of three, yet my wife doesn't have Indian citizenship.”
"I hope after [US President Barack] Obama's public advice to India on religious discrimination , the bureaucracy will get out of its slumber and pursue our case immediately," said Nasir’s wife Mubina.
Further, she said not allowing them to leave Qadian is also a violation of their basic human rights.
Tahira added when her mother was admitted in a hospital in Amritsar, she couldn't go there to inquire after her health.
"When we can't cross the borders of Qadian; we all feel very discriminated, it should come to an end now," she asserted.
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