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HindustanTimes Mon,28 Jul 2014

Will laws force Nuzhat away from her family?

Sumit Saxena, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 16, 2012
First Published: 00:45 IST(16/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:07 IST(16/12/2012)

For the past 29 years, 48-year-old Pakistani housewife Nuzhat Jahan has fought for her right to live in India with her husband. Today, she has three children and two grandchildren, who reside in Turkman Gate in Delhi and are all Indian.

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Recently a Delhi court convicted Jahan for being an illegal foreigner. She is now likely to be deported to Pakistan.

"I will have no reason to live without my family. I love my husband and our children. I have no family elsewhere," Jahan told HT.

Jahan and her husband Mohammed Ghulfam got married in Pakistan in 1983. She came to India on a Pakistani passport. In 1994, the Pakistani High Commission refused to renew her passport and asked her to get Indian nationality, as she is married to an Indian citizen. The couple approached the home ministry and they deposited all the necessary documents.

"The ministry officials said her file got lost. Her application for Indian citizenship is still pending," Ghulfam said.

After 1999 Kargil war, the Delhi police identified Jahan as an illegal foreigner.

A case was filed in 2002 and she was arrested, but was soon released on bail. A passport officer Sushma Sharma told the court that after 1994, the accused neither got her passport or long-term visa extended and remained in the territory of India.

"A notice was given to accused on February 8, 2000 regarding expiry of her visa," the officer said.

Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said: "when accused was arrested she was not having any valid visa to stay in India and mere application for citizenship is not enough."

Jahan's husband has filed an appeal and the case is listed for hearing next week. "I hope my wife is not separated from me and our children," a teary-eyed Ghulfam said.


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