8,000 Pakistanis staying illegally in India: RTI enquiry

8,000 Pakistanis staying illegally in India: RTI enquiry

Seeking refuge

8,000 Pakistanis staying illegally in India: RTI enquiry

As many as 8,037 Pakistani nationals are staying illegally in India, according to an RTI enquiry from a Haryana advocate and rights activist.

The whereabouts of these Pakistani nationals are unknown. Bangladesh nationals tops the list of people staying illegally in India with over 24,000  overstayed for long. The information, received on March 18 this year, tends to expose the arguably lax functioning of intelligence and other agencies.

The motive of their stay in India may or may not be suspect, and could simply necessitate a case under relevant sections of the Foreigners Act. But there have been cases in the past, some very recent ones as well, where such persons have eventually come under the scanner and were probed for terror links.

Only a few days ago, a Karachi-based Pakistani national, identified as Mohammad Samim, was arrested in the Jama Masjid area of New Delhi, for staying illegally in India after the expiry of visa some months ago. He was interrogated by a joint team comprising the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi police to ascertain if his illegal stay has any terror connection.

Advocate Rajesh Sharma said he had sought information from the Union government on the number of foreigners staying illegally in India and the efforts being made to deport them.  The RTI reveals that India has a whopping over 71,000 foreigners from 42 nations staying illegally on its soil. Afghanistan nationals in large numbers, too, are staying illegally. 

The seriousness with which the security and other agencies operate can be gauged by the fact that a Pakistani national, identified as Nazeemuddin, was arrested a couple of days ago from Firozabad (UP) for staying in India illegally for the last 13 years after the expiry of his visa in 1998. There are also reports of foreign nationals having entered the country without valid travel documents and some instances of illegal activities by them.

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