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‘Pakistani Seema Haider’s case should be treated as per law, not emotional considerations’

News‘Pakistani Seema Haider’s case should be treated as per law, not emotional considerations’

‘However, if Seema, who is not a Muslim for now, is sent to Pakistan, she will face more persecution for being a converted Hindu’.

New Delhi

Seema Haider, the Pakistani Muslim woman who had been living in Rabupura village in Delhi’s neighbouring Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh since 13 May 2023, came to the notice of Indian agencies almost two months later when a lawyer from Bulandshahar informed the police about Haider. On 4 July, the police arrested the Pakistani Muslim woman with her alleged husband Sachin and his father, but on 7 July, Nazim Akbar Nemili, the Junior Division Judge of the Jewar Civil Court, released Seema Haider, Sachin and Sachin’s father Netrapal on bail.

It is said that the court released Seema-Sachin and Sachin’s father on bail because Seema had married Sachin according to Hindu rituals. Since she had become a Hindu, she can apply for citizenship in India. However, while granting bail, the court also added some minor conditions.

The question arises how the court could so easily release an illegal migrant, that too a Pakistani woman, who has been arrested by the police for violating the Foreigners Act 1946 and for allegedly hatching a conspiracy? In response to this question, Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay said, “The Foreigners Act of India 1946 does not allow any illegal infiltrator or illegal migrant to settle in India under any circumstances, but if we look inside it, this law is very flexible. For example, according to this law, if an illegal migrant-foreigner woman or man marries an Indian woman or man, he or she can apply for citizenship through registration.”

Upadhyay also said that most of the laws of India are such that interpretation and meaning of justice or legal order can be derived or fabricated according to one’s own understanding. This has happened in the case of Seema as well.

In this Seema-Sachin case, the role of the police and the public prosecutor has also been very poor. If Seema and Sachin gave an affidavit to the court arguing that they have been married as per Hindu rituals, then the prosecution should have urged the court that the accused should not be granted bail until the facts of the affidavit are verified by the police. If it had been so, the court would probably have ordered the police to investigate Seema and Sachin’s marriage, or the police could have challenged the order of the Civil Court Junior Division in a higher court.

Now from LIU to ATS and from IB to MIB, Sachin-Seema is being interrogated for hours and hours. Rabupura’s police is now putting applications at different places and seeking permission to go to Nepal, so that they can bring evidence of Seema-Sachin marriage which was solemnized under Hindu customs and rituals. Seema allegedly converted to Hinduism by marrying Sachin under Hindu rituals at Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu.

Here, one needs to know the laws for Indian citizenship to foreigners and what the Indian Constitution says about it. Seema’s entry into India is a clear violation of India’s security and constitutional provisions. The story of Seema also challenges the Citizenship Amendment Act and the Indian Passport Amendment Act. According to the Citizenship Act: “Any Pakistani or foreign national who intrudes into India without valid visa and travel documents can be punished with imprisonment of 2 years to 8 years and fine of Rupees 10 thousand.”

Clause ‘H’ of Rule 4 (Sub Rule 1) of the Indian Passport Act states that “religious minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jain-Buddhists, Christians and Parsis, if they have come to India and seek citizenship here, they will be given Indian citizenship”. It is worth noting here that there is no provision to give citizenship to the Muslims of Bangladesh and Pakistan. In the Seema-Sachin case, it can be argued again that Seema converted to Hinduism by marrying Sachin under Hindu rituals at Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu. That’s why she was not a Pakistani Muslim but a Hindu at the time of her infiltration into India; so, she should be given Indian citizenship, goes the logic. Sharia law states, “A Muslim woman, after marrying a polytheist or a person who does not believe in Islam, becomes an outcast from Islam. If she does so, it will make her an enemy of Islam.” According to Sharia law, such a woman should be given death sentence by stoning.
In these dire circumstances, if Seema is sent to Pakistan, she will face more persecution for being a converted Hindu.

Therefore, the Government of India and the courts should think sympathetically on the issue of Seema-Haider. She should be allowed citizenship through registration under the Foreigners Act 1946. Constitution experts say that laws are based on principles and not on sentiment. Seema Ghulam Haider, a born Pakistani Muslim, has illegally exploited Article 7 of Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship 1951 also.

According to the visa on arrival policy of Nepal, a citizen of any country can come to Nepal with a valid passport and can obtain a tourist visa for a maximum period of 150 days. But he or she are is allowed to sneak in to India by ditching security forces. Seema Haider allegedly tricked guards at the border post by hiding her citizenship to sneak in to India.

Seema Ghulam Haider is not the first example. Earlier on 23 January 2023, Iqra, a resident of Pakistani Hyderabad, was arrested by security agencies from Bangalore. Iqra had also crossed the Nepal border and reached Bangalore. She also fell in love with Prayagar (UP) resident Mulayam Singh Yadav through an online game. Iqra was deported to Pakistan on 19 February 2023 itself.

Some people may also raise the question that when Adnan Sami, a Pakistani singer and son of Pakistani Pilot Arshad Sami, who fought against India in 1965, was given Indian citizenship, then why not Seema Ghulam Haider? Adnan Sami came to India for the first time on 13 March 2001 on a visitor’s visa. The duration of his visa kept increasing. His passport expired on 26 May 2015. The Government of Pakistan did not renew his visa. After this, Sami applied for asylum to the Government of India. Looking at his circumstances, the Government of India granted Indian citizenship to Sami.
While amending the Citizenship of India Act, the Government of India has said that any foreign national, whether Pakistani, living in India continuously for 11 years and fulfilling the conditions of the third schedule of this law, can become a citizen of India.

Seema Haider may have fallen in love with an Indian but she does not fulfil the conditions of Indian citizenship law. According to Indian law, she should be kept in the detention center in Delhi instead of living in the residential house. Some experts say that she is not a Muslim for now, but she is an illegal Pakistani immigrant. Hence, security agencies, courts and the administration should take this case in accordance with law, and not as per emotional considerations of love.

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