March 2003 News

J-K Wakes Up, Scraps Pak Citizens Off Electoral Rolls

30 March 2003
The Indian Express

Jammu: : Making a mockery of all the procedures laid down to check settlement of outsiders in J-K, some Pakistani nationals not only managed to acquire permanent resident status of the state but one even got a job in the state police. Election officials recently struck off the names of Iftikar Ali and his family from electoral rolls as they were found to be Pakistani nationals. Revenue officials accordingly cancelled the mutation of land earlier made in their favour. All this was done during a summary revision of electoral rolls before the recent Assembly polls in the state, said tehsildar Mendhar. 'The documents available with us show the family had come from across the border and as such, they are Pakistani nationals,' he added. While DGP A.K. Suri expressed ignorance about the matter, the cancellation of electoral rolls and land mutation had followed letters by CID wing to the Deputy Commissioner, Poonch. The Pakistani nationals, whose names have been struck off the electoral rolls are police constable Iftikar Ali, his mother Fatima Bi, besides his brothers Mohammad Shafiq, Mohammad Shakoor, Zulfikar Ali and sisters Nishan Akhtar, Nasreen Akhtar, Aksheer Akhtar and Kousar Parveen. The story of the Pakistani nationals in Mendhar dates back to 1983 when Fakar-ud-Din, along with his wife and eight children, came to India on valid Pakistani passports to see his relatives. Before their visa could expire, they got their stay extended by another year. Before the expiry of their extended visa period, they approached the high court, seeking directions for their declaration as permanent residents of J-K. On their request, the court stayed their deportation to Pakistan until the final disposal of the writ petition. During the pendency of the writ petition, Fakar-ud-Din died in 1987. In 1990, the court dismissed their petition, holding that once declared Pakistani nationals, they cannot claim to be Indian citizens after the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 came into force. The court also vacated the stay on their deportation and asked the family to approach the Union Government for grant of citizenship. However, they continued to stay on in the state and in the course of time got their names included in the voter lists for the 1989 Lok Sabha elections.

 

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