Joy as Pak woman reunites with her Indian husband

Nuzhat Jahan , speaks to a relative over the phone even as her husbandMohammad Gulfam and grandchild Walia look on. Photo: Monica Tiwari  

India and Pakistan may be squaring off along the line of control, but for this Indo-Pak couple there is no such acrimony.

Rather, Pakistani national Nuzhat Jahan and her Indian husband Mohammed Gulfam got the perfect Eid gift when the Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered Nuzhat to be released from a beggar’s home, where she had been lodged since May because of visa violation.

A division Bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Indermeet Kaur said: “…we direct the release of the petitioner from the Beggar’s Home, Nirmal Chhaya Parisar, Delhi, forthwith, considering the fact that the important Muslim festival ‘Eid’ is around the corner, so that the petitioner is able to celebrate such a pious and important festival with her family members…’’

The Bench ordered her release when the counsel for the Union Ministry for Home Affairs, Jatan Singh, informed the Court that the Ministry had no objection if she is released on humanitarian grounds.

While ordering her release, the Bench directed the couple to furnish an undertaking to the DCP, Special Branch of the Delhi Police that they would not leave the country without prior permission till a final decision was taken by the Government of India on her application for grant of citizenship .

The authorities concerned should decide her application for visa extension within three months and thereafter, depending on their decision, the Ministry should take a decision on her application for grant of citizenship, pending since 1996, as per the Citizenship Act and other guidelines, the Bench said.

Nuzhat married Gulfam when she was just 17. She had been living at Sitaram Bazar in Old Delhi for over 30 years when she was picked up to be deported following visa violation.

A slew of court cases and appeals later she was forced to spend nearly three months away from her family in Nirmal Chhaya (shelter home for women) awaiting government/court decision on the matter. Her anxious husband and children spent an agonising hundred days negotiating for her continued stay in India.

Finally on Wednesday their wait came to a happy end with the Delhi High Court coming to Nuzhat’s rescue.

Gulfam said the court’s decision to allow his wife to stay and seek citizenship is the best gift this Eid.

“The Court has restored my faith in my country, its judicial system and in humanity. My wife has been allowed to stay in India. Having her back at home is the best gift ever,’’ Gulfam said.

He added that the minute his wife saw him on Wednesday (waiting for her outside Nirmal Chayya to bring her back home) “she just broke down’’.

“We hugged and cried with joy and at the sheer relief of being able to come back home together,’’ said Gulfam.

“I have been married for 30 years and my wife has always been by my side. To not have her support crippled me completely. Today we will sit with our family to pray and thank god for his blessings,’’ he added.

Nuzhat was picked up by the police in 2002 for overstaying in India without a valid visa. Earlier this year, in May, she was sentenced to six days’ imprisonment, awarded a fine and ordered to be sent back to Pakistan. After serving her punishment, she stayed lodged in Nirmal Chhaya awaiting further orders from the Central Government.

“My wife is a home-maker and her world revolves around her three children, her grandchildren and her home. She was shocked and very disturbed by the recent legal hassle, but I guess this cruel episode has taught us and everyone else in our situation to be careful about being up-to-date with the paper work. We were shattered without her,’’ said Gulfam.

Nuzhat’s son, Gulsher, said: “It was the wait for a decision by the government/court which was the worst part, but now that she is back home it all seems like a long and horrible nightmare.’’

Back in Pakistan Nuzhat only has her old mother, besides her brother and sister who are married and have their own families. The last time Nuzhat and her husband went to Pakistan was in 1992.

“Now I don’t want to make anymore trips to anywhere. I just want to live in peace with my husband, children and grandchildren in my house in Old Delhi,’’ said Nuzhat, sitting surrounded by her children and grandchildren in her single room accommodation. “Hopefully my husband will soon complete my paper work,’’ she smiled.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 7:07:51 AM |

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