Union home ministry on Thursday received Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti’s application for political asylum in India.
The founder-president of the Baloch Republican Party, Bugti is the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader killed by the Pakistani army in 2006.
“The application is being examined at the moment. A decision will happen after completing the due process,” said a home ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Bugti had applied for asylum through the Indian consulate in Geneva three days ago.
The application was sent to the home ministry which deals with all asylum matters, including those of refugees.
“Ultimately, it is a political decision at the highest level but we need to follow the process for the requisite paperwork,” the official said.
Pakistan has strongly opposed India giving asylum to Bugti, calling him a terrorist.
The ministry is also looking at past cases like the process adopted by the Jawaharlal Nehru government in 1959 to give asylum to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers.
India doesn’t have a uniform national asylum policy. So, the government could give him permanent residency or long-term visa like it provides to persons from persecuted minority communities from Pakistan or other neighbouring countries.
The government deals with asylum matters on a case-to-case or nationality-to-nationality basis.
Only recently, the home ministry began the process of drafting a national asylum policy.
The objective is to formally define a refugee, eligibility for asylum, rights, entitlements and obligations and set a time-bound legal framework for naturalization, said the official.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says India has around 2.1 lakh people of ‘concern’ and they include nationals from Afghanistan (13,381), Myanmar (18,914), Somalia, Tibet (1.1 lakh) and Sri Lankans (64,600).
The UNHCR works with refugees who are not from the neighbouring countries, except Myanmar.