Makhdum Rahmani, a sugar trader in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, had a difficult choice to make last year. His friend and two relatives in Karachi wanted to visit India on his reference. Rahmani told the cops that he cannot vouch for them. Taking responsibility for people I didn’t know too well made me uncomfortable, the 39-year-old told Mail Today.
It wasn’t always like this. The Rahmanis would go to Karachi and their friends and relatives there would travel to India during family functions. Much has changed in recent years. I may get myself into trouble if visitors do anything unlawful here, he said. Anwar Javeri of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk also had to make a similar call last year. The 35-year-old didn’t vouch for his cousin’s son in Peshawar.
I found out that he was once detained by the police there. It’s sad. We have so many good memories. Our great grandfather migrated from Peshawar during the partition, but his brother stayed back. These are difficult times, he said.
Rahmani and Javeri are not alone. Thousands of Delhiites are giving such feedback, leading to a sharp increase in rejection of police clearance for short-term visas applied by Pakistanis. This has also reduced the number of applications for police clearance since 2016 when the Delhi Police started an online facility to review shortterm visa applications. One can stay in India on a short-term visa for a maximum of 90 days.
Of the 7,879 applications received in 2018, 5,222 didn’t get clearance from the Delhi Police’s Special Branch. Suman Goyal, Special Branch DCP, told Mail Today, Half the applications were rejected after the relatives here didn’t take responsibility for their Pakistani family members and friends.
In 2017, of the 9,657 applications, 6,024 didn’t get police clearance. In 2016, of the 14,418 applications, 4,865 failed to get the mandatory nod. From January 1, 2016, people can apply online for police clearance certificates (PCCs) directly to Delhi Police.
We have a dedicated staff for verification. Rejections are based on local feedback, she said. In 2018, Delhi Police registered two FIRs against Pakistani nationals who violated the terms and conditions of visa and stayed here beyond the permissible limit, the DCP said.
WHY THE WORRY?
There have been cases of Pakistani nationals of being involved in unlawful activities too. Special Branch officials said that five people from Pakistan’s Punjab and Sindh provinces have been arrested between 2007 and 2013 for certain violations.
The Indian government has written several letters to Pakistan’s embassy in Delhi for their deportation, but there has been no acknowledgment.
Mohamad Hasan alias Mohamad Munir, a resident of Khurd Jhelum of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was arrested in 2007 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police. An FIR was lodged at Lodhi Colony police station as he had no documents to establish his identity.
He completed his imprisonment on October 10, 2012, and is waiting to be deported. Abdul Jabbar, son of Musa Ibrahim, a resident of Karachi, was also arrested by Delhi Police in 2009 for carrying secret documents and having links with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.
He completed his imprisonment on December 7, 2015. In his case too, the Pakistan embassy in India has not acknowledged his identity.
Mohamad Qamar alias Mohamad Qamil, son of Mohamad Amin and a resident of Lahore, was booked at Meerut’s Delhi Gate police station in 2011. He completed his jail term on February 7, 2015. Mohamad Hanif alias Danis, son of late Salamat Jaan, a resident of Karachi, was arrested by the UP ATS in Sitapur and an FIR registered in 2012.
He has also completed imprisonment in June 2016. His fate remains the same. The fifth case is of Mohamad Idrish, a resident of Karachi.
He was arrested by the UP Police from Kanpur in 2013 under. Idrish completed imprisonment in mid-2017 and has been waiting for deportation.