PESHAWAR – With the grant of citizenship to Dr Hafsa Aman by the interior division, another Indian woman, Aqila Durrani, hopes of a favourable decision.
Ms Durrani, who married Imtiaz Khan, a Pakistani who hails from Kaskoorona, Mardan, on August 15, 2003, was twice declined citizenship by the interior ministry.
The interior ministry had recently informed the Peshawar High Court, where her writ petition is pending, that she had been declined citizenship due to non-clearance by security agencies and they had been re-processing her case.
However, while the case of Dr Hafsa Aman, an Indian woman who embraced Islam and married Aman Khan of Mardan last year, was re-processed, the interior ministry has yet to take a decision on Ms Durrani’s case.
Dr Hafsa Aman was granted citizenship on Sept 25, the day when President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in the US.
At present, two writ petitions challenging the interior ministry orders of rejecting applications of Dr Hafsa Aman and Ms Durrani are pending before the high court, and they will be taken up for hearing on Sept 30.
The deputy attorney-general for Pakistan, Salahuddin Khan, told Dawn that the interior ministry had been re-processing the case of Ms Durrani and hopefully she would also get citizenship in a couple of days.
The father of Ms Durrani, Abdul Qudoos Durrani, was born in village Babozai Katlang prior to the creation of Pakistan and he had studied at the local Government High School Katlang till 9th class.
Mr Qudoos left for Bombay in 1961 in search of job and his close relatives have still been living in district Mardan. Ms Durrani claimed that her paternal-aunt, Zubaida Bibi, arranged her engagement with Imtiaz on June 8, 1999. She said that she visited Mardan on various occasions in 1996, 1999 and 2003.
She was holding the Indian nationality and being the wife of Imtiaz Khan, Ms Durrani applied for the Pakistani citizenship. She said that on Feb 25 a section officer of the interior ministry, Jawed Habib, rejected her application.
She said she again applied for the citizenship through the NWFP Chief Minister with the help of an MPA Naeema Kishwar but her plea was again rejected on April 29. The stay permit issued to the petitioner by the government was till June 27. However, the stay order issued in her favour by the high court is still intact.
The woman’s counsel, Amjid Ali, told Dawn that the Citizenship Act, 1951, was clear on this point and the section officer concerned had overstepped his powers while rejecting her application. “Under Section 10 of the Citizenship Act, a foreigner lady married to a Pakistani man is entitled to be granted a citizenship certificate,” Mr Ali added.
He said that the officer concerned had not assigned any reason for rejecting the said application. Moreover, he said, grand parents as well as other relatives of Ms Durrani were Pakistani nationals. He hoped that after the case of Dr Hafsa Aman, Ms Durrani would also be granted the citizenship and the problems faced by her family would come to an end.