After fighting a long battle, a Pakistan-born person staying here for the past 52 years will finally be granted Indian citizenship.
On Monday, the central government informed the High Court that they have agreed to give 54-year-old Asif Karadia who was born in Pakistan.
Karadia's mother Zaibunnisa was in Pakistan when he was born but she could not return for around two years due to tension between India and Pakistan relations in 1965.
"I had gone to my parents' home in 1965 when Asif was born, just when I was to come back, India-Pakistan war broke out, then I had to stay back in Pakistan for two more years," Zaibunnisa said.
Karadia told ANI, "I came to India when I was only two years old. I am already an Indian citizen, I kept telling people this but they do not understand this. They call me a 'Pakistani'. I never faced any problems with government procedures since my childhood whether it is school or hospital."
He did not know anything until he applied for a passport and permission for Haj. His application was denied as his birthplace was marked as Karachi in his certificates.
"But when I applied for Haj, they told me I was a Pakistani and I will not get my Indian passport. I was asked to prove my nationality," said Karadia adding, "Overall, I am happy and satisfied that I have got the Indian citizenship."
Advocate Ashish Mehta appearing for Karadia in the High Court said, "In 2016, my client Asif Karadia received a letter from Mumbai Home department in which it was stated that he does not have Indian citizenship."
He added that the department's letter questioned him why they should not arrest him since he has been living in India without citizenship?
He said, "The department asked him to take orders from the court. They gave him around 15 days time for this otherwise they will deport him."
"My client does not know what is the issue with his citizenship since he has been living here for the past 40 years. He has all the documents. When Asif went to the department, they said he should have applied for citizenship many years back. Asif did not know if he has to apply for citizenship. His mother brought him here from Karachi when he was only two years old. His mother did not know about citizenship rules," he told ANI.
Mehta further said, "We gave petition in High Court. We told the court that Asif has all the documents and there is no police case against him. And we are ready to follow the procedure of citizenship. The court asked us to submit all documents to the home department which would be further scrutinised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and will decide on giving citizenship."
"MHA did not submit a report even after the deadline. In December 2018, the High Court asked them to submit the report within three months. On Monday, MHA's representative assured the court that within 10 days they will give the certificate of Indian citizenship to Asif Karadia," Mehta said.
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