AHMEDABAD: Even as Pakistani-origin singer Adnan Sami was granted Indian citizenship, many disillusioned families are going back to the neighbouring country after spending many years in Gujarat.
In the past one year, at least 100 families — most of them Sindhis and Kutchi Gujaratis — have returned to Pakistan after spending many years in Gujarat waiting for the elusive Indian citizenship. Many more are packing their bags saying their ‘Ghar Wapsi’ to India had proved an illusion.
Motiram Khatri, 37, who fled Pakistan in 2009 to settle in Ahmedabad, has applied to go back to Sindh. Khatri, a grocer in Pakistan, had started a mobile shop in Dehgam on the city outskirts to sustain his family of five. However, a police case was filed against him allegedly for violating visa rules which prohibit him from stepping out of the city.
“I could not get any job or place on rent in Ahmedabad. What crime did I commit if I went just 15 km from the city for my family’s survival?” asked Khatri, who said he will revive his grocery business in Sindh once he returns to Pakistan.
Rambhai Bhimani, president of the Ahmedabad-Thara Lohana Samaj, confirmed that in the past one year, nearly 100 Hindu families, who had fled Pakistan and come to Gujarat for security and a better life, had gone back.
“It is ironical, Hindu organizations have launched ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaign to bring Hindus who had converted to Islam back into their fold but they do little to embrace those who are their own,” said Bhimani.
Dr Ramesh Lohana, 38, left his successful practice in Karachi in December 2012 for a secure life in Ahmedabad. Now, a disillusioned man, he is waiting for his children’s exams to be over so that he can go back to Pakistan.
“My practice earned me Rs 2.5 lakh a month. Here, no hospital was willing to give me a job. I was forced to take up a supervisory job in a garments shop for Rs 25,000. Authorities and ordinary people look at us with suspicion. We feel like second-class citizens,” said Dr Lohana who is preparing to leave in April.
After Adnan Sami was given Indian citizenship, Dr Mahadev Lohana wrote to the PMO and union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju. He and his family members have been waiting for Indian citizenship for 12 years.
“Why is government not considering citizenship for Hindus (minorities of Pakistan) who came here for permanent settlement?” his letter said.
He said that in Pakistan Hindus face the threat of religious conversion, extortion, forced marriages and kidnappings. “They (Hindus of Pak) came here with the sense that they are Hindus and will be warmly welcomed. But the scenario here is totally different,” the letter said.