A group of 243 Pakistani nationals, including several Hindu and Sikh refugees, who have been given permission to return, will be going back to Pakistan, “giving up on their dreams of acquiring Indian citizenship in the face of financial hardships”, the Economic Times reported.
The refugees are among 243 Pakistani nationals, including many stranded in India due to COVID-19 pandemic, who have been given permission to travel via Wagah border on Thursday.
“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,” a 37-year-old refugee, Shreedhar told Economic Times.
Another refugee, Mithoon, who was from Hyderabad city in Sindh province stated that they came to India in “search of better livelihood”. “For the past one year, we have been trying to get LTV (long term visa) but to no avail…My family is facing financial trouble due to lockdown and COVID-19. They have now decided to go back,” he said.
The article noted that the government had to yet notify the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which was passed in December last year.
Under the controversial CAA, non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have arrived in India before December 31, 2014, will be allowed to get Indian citizenship on a fast-track basis.
“Officials said 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 woes of the refugees, said people aware of the matter,” noted the report.