Pak courts directs interior ministry to decide within 30 days fate of Indian woman seeking citizenship

22 Apr 2018

The Lahore High Court (LHC) today directed the interior ministry to decide within 30 days the fate of an Indian woman seeking Pakistani citizenship and extension to her visa after embracing Islam and marrying a local man during her visit here to attend the Sikhs' Baisakhi festival. The high court while extending the Indian woman's visa by 30-days, directed the interior ministry to decide whether she is eligible for the six-month extension as per her application, the Express Tribune reported. Kiran Bala alias Amna Bibi, who hailed from Punjab's Hoshiarpur district, had arrived in Lahore by a special train on April 12 to attend Baisakhi festival. During her visit, she embraced Islam and married a resident of Hingerwal, Lahore, on April 16 at a ceremony held at an Islamic seminary here. According to the law, Kiran can now stay in Pakistan for a month, and if granted the six-month extension, she could be eligible for attaining citizenship.
The Indo-Pak treaty indicates that citizens of either country can attain the others nationality after seven years, the report said. Kiran would have to renew her visa every six months for seven years, and if there are no complaints of law or Constitutional violations, then she can become a Pakistani national. In her plea, she stated that she married the Pakistani national on her own accord and wants to live in the country. Clad in black gown and pink coloured scarf and holding a 'Tasbhi' in her hands, the Indian woman had appeared in the court yesterday along with her husband Mohammad Azam. She pleaded the court that she had contracted marriage with Azam of Lahore with her consent as she was not coerced to do so.
"I want to live in Pakistan after marrying a Pakistani man. I am very happy here along with my husband and I do not want to go back. I have embraced Islam and my new name is Amna," she said.
"After getting married with a Pakistani man I am entitled to get citizenship of Pakistan under Section 10 (2) of the Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951," she said. After contracting marriage, Kiran also wrote to the Foreign Office for extension to her visa as she is receiving "life threats". The Baisakhi festival has already created bitterness after India accused Pakistan of using it to incite Indian Sikh pilgrims on the issue of 'Khalistan', which was rejected by Islamabad.  (PTI)