18,185 Pakistan nationals have been staying on LTVs

Amid reports of religious persecution of minority communities in Pakistan, the Centre on Wednesday said that in the last three years, 2,937 Pakistani Hindus had stayed back in India and there was an increase in requests for grant of a ‘long-term visa’ (LTV) from such visitors.

Last year, 5,012 Hindus came to India, mainly from the Attari border in Punjab, and of them 1,248 did not return to Pakistan, while in 2010, out of 6,036 Hindu visitors, 491 stayed back. Similarly in 2009, of the 6,437 Hindus who entered India, 1,198 failed to return. As on June 30, 2012, a total number of 18,185 Pakistan nationals were staying in India on LTVs, Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

The Minister pointed to reports that “some Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities including Hindus, who came to India on valid visas, have not gone back on the ground of religious persecution in Pakistan.”

According to Home Ministry sources, 1,290 applications of Pakistani nationals were received from various State governments and Union Territories for grant of Indian citizenship by registration and naturalisation during 2009-2011. Of these, Indian citizenship was granted to 764.

The Ministry “considers requests of Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities [Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists] for grant of LTV. Similarly, applications are received from Pakistan women married to Indian nationals and staying in India, and Indian women married to Pakistan nationals and returning to India due to widowhood/divorce,” Mr. Ramachandran said. However, the Ministry had no details of houses and land of Pakistani Hindus getting occupied or of demolition of temples and gurdwaras.

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