The union home ministry has granted long terms visas to as many as 431 Pakistani nationals, mostly Hindus. Now they all are eligible for Aadhaar cards and PAN.
The move, amidst the strained India-Pak relations, is in line with the Narendra Modi government’s policy to help minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who come to India after facing alleged persecution in their home country.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs granted long-term visas to 431 Pakistani nationals last month. They are from minority communities of that country,” the official said.
Under the latest policy of the Centre, those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, namely — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians– staying in India on long-term visas, are allowed to purchase a small dwelling unit sufficient to serve the needs of a family for self-use and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment.
However, they are barred from buying immovable property in and around restricted or protected areas, including cantonment regions.
Such communities are also allowed to obtain PAN cards, Aadhaar numbers and driving licences, take up self-employment or do business, and are allowed free movement within the state of their stay and transfer of long-term visa papers from one state to another.
The 431 Pakistani nationals with long-term visas will now also be able to open bank accounts without the prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.
The home ministry had also recently given security clearance to 1,800 Pakistani nationals of the Ahmadiyya community to attend the 123rd ‘Jalsa Salana’ at Qadian in Gurdaspur district of Punjab from December 29 to December 31. ‘Jalsa Salana’ is an annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya community.