Pakistan has finally issued a citizenship certificate for Sumaira, a woman languishing in an Indian detention centre, paving way for her return with her daughter soon, Dawn reported.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced on Thursday that his Ministry had issued a citizenship certificate for Sumaira, who is languishing in a detention centre in the Indian city of Bengaluru, after verification of her family tree by the National Database and Regulatory Authority (Nadra), the report said.
He said the certificate had been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi would issue a travel document to her, allowing her to return to Pakistan along with her four-year-old daughter.
The issue of the Pakistani-origin woman languishing in the detention centre along with her daughter was raised in the Senate on Monday by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Irfan Siddiqui, Dawn reported.
According to a BBC report, a family bearing Pakistani citizenship was living in Qatar. There, a Pakistani girl called Sumaira married an Indian boy who took her to India without a visa.
Later, Sumaira was arrested and subsequently sentenced to three years in prison. Two months later, she gave birth to a baby girl. Her husband left her during the period when she was under custody.
After her release from prison, Sumaira was living at the detention centre with her daughter, Dawn reported.
Sumaira’s lawyer Sahana Biswa Patna said she had been trying to contact the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi and the Foreign Ministry in Pakistan for the last six months to verify hercitizenship, but to no avail, the report said.
Siddiqui on Monday had said in the Senate that “something should also be done for Pakistan’s daughter Sumaira”.
He asked Leader of the House in Senate Shahzad Wasim to take up the matter with the government.
The Senate chairman issued a ruling that Siddiqui and the leader of the house should work out a plan of action in this regard.
The issue was raised again by Senator Siddiqui in the house on Thursday, when the opposition members were staging a walkout.
“I raised the issue in the house on Feb 14 and five days down the road not a word has been said about Sumaira by the foreign ministry or the government,” he said.
The PML-N senator also said the government’s “indifference towards the plight of Sumaira and her daughter is deplorable”, the report said.
“She remained in jail for four years. No one came to her rescue. The people of Bengaluru collected and paid a fine of 100,000 PKR for her release from jail, but our embassy in Delhi remained asleep.”
In response, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan promised that the government would take notice of the issue and the house would be informed of the progress made in this regard.
Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar supported the demand made by Siddiqui.
The Senate chairman then directed the interior and foreign ministries to submit progress reports on the steps taken in Sumaira’s case on a daily basis to the Senate Secretariat.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.firstname.lastname@example.org)