The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian woman fights to be in Pak

Islamabad, July 9: An Indian woman doctor married to a Pakistani has temporarily escaped deportation on the intervention of Peshawar High Court.

Divya Dayanan, from Kerala, got the reprieve after the court in the North-West Frontier Province stayed the deportation order and asked the government the reason for refusing her request for Pakistani citizenship.

The court also ordered police not to arrest Divya, who is pregnant, until further orders, media reports here said today.

Her story is a rerun of the travails of Dhalal Falag Al Azmi, a Kuwaiti woman who was arrested at Chennai airport in 2002 when she landed with her Indian lover on a forged passport. She was later released and married Khader Basha at his village in Andhra Pradesh.

Divya married Aman Khan last July on a visit to Pakistan, converted to Islam, took on the name Hafsa and settled down in Mardan.

They met and fell in love while studying in Ukraine; Aman returned home in 1998 without completing his studies while Divya went on to do an MD, says the Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper.

Now working in a local hospital, Divya was on a temporary visa and faced deportation after Pakistan’s interior minister declined to grant her citizenship. The interior division asked her to leave within her visa’s validity period.

Her lawyer approached the high court, saying she was entitled to citizenship because she was married to a Pakistani citizen.

“Under Section 10 (2) of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, a woman married to a citizen of Pakistan should be registered as a citizen of Pakistan, whether or not she had completed 21 years of age,” Muhammad Usman Khan Tarlandi is quoted by the Dawn as contending.

He said it was a clear case of discrimination and claimed that the police were harassing her family to leave Pakistan.

Divya also submitted an affidavit surrendering her Indian citizenship. She said she is expecting a child next month and is not sure whether the baby would be an Indian or a Pakistani.

Aman had filed a writ petition in the high court seeking interim relief and a directive to the authorities not to pressure the couple till the final disposal of the case.

According to the petitioner, his wife was at first allowed to stay in Pakistan till August 14, 2003, through a permit issued on July 18 that year under the Foreigners Order, 1951.

The permit — issued by the foreigners’ registration officer/superintendent of police, Mardan — was extended three times, finally till March 7.

Divya had applied for citizenship on August 26, 2003. The request was turned down by the interior division this February, says the Dawn.

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