The ministry of external affairs (MEA) had received no formal application from any of the Pakistani Hindu migrants about seeking political asylum or permanent citizenship in India, union minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur said on Sunday.
"Although more than 260 Hindus have arrived in India from Pakistan, MEA has not got any application of asylum or permanent citizenship," Preneet said. "It's only media reports that are highlighting demands of political asylum or citizenship."
She, however, stressed that if these families were to seek asylum or citizenship, the MEA would cooperate with them and consider their cases sympathetically after studying all the legal angles.
Emphasising that the union government was concerned about the difficulties that Hindu families were facing in Pakistan, Preneet said: "The Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has been apprised of India's worries. He has ordered the formation of a committee to look into the allegations of the Hindu families."
"Even though the migrants are Hindus, they are citizens of Pakistan," she said. "We can only help them up to a certain level."
'State govt must think of plight of families affected by sealing'
Preneet has urged the Punjab government to consider the issue of sealing shops in residential areas more seriously and on humanitarian grounds.
"We respect the Punjab and Haryana high court orders about sealing in Patiala," she said. "However, it is the duty of the state government to apprise the court about the ground realities.
A large number of families will lose their source of income if the orders are implemented."
A member of Parliament from Patiala, Preneet alleged that the state government had initially taken up the matter lightly, as it was a Patiala-centric issue. "But sealing is a statewide issue," she said. "The government should frame a permanent policy on sealing considering all angles pertaining to it."
She also found fault with the Patiala civic body for not representing the case in court properly. "Even the state government took cognisance only when the affected families started protesting," she added.