Interior Ministry slammed for not taking Pakistani women issue seriously

ISLAMABAD: Senator Irfan Siddiqui revealed that the Pakistani Ministry of Interior had been informed of the imprisonment of the young Pakistani Sumaira in India in June 2018 and that he had been asked to confirm his Pakistani citizenship. But the ministry did not respond.

“This criminal negligence is not only regrettable but also reprehensible that the Home Office failed to pay attention to this matter and that Sumaira is languishing in an Indian prison,” he told a group of reporters here on Wednesday. . Senator Irfan Siddiqui said he had received the reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior submitted to the Senate Secretariat.

According to the Foreign Ministry report, he said that Sumaira was granted consular access twice on May 23, 2018 and November 18, 2021. He said that in New Delhi, officials from the Pakistan High Commission have met Sumaira, who was incarcerated in Tihar Prison, Bangalore. and after the first consular access in May 2018, shortly after the 1st consular access to Sumaira in May 2018, a letter was sent to the Pakistani Ministry of Interior in June 2018 for confirmation of Sumaira citizenship, but the certificate could not be issued even after about four years.

Finally, he said on February 17, 2022, when once again I raised my voice in the Senate, that certificate was issued the same day. “However, Sumaira is still being held in a detention center in Saidpur, Bangalore even after her prison term has ended,” he said.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui said, “This is a test case. I don’t know who to contact about this very important humanitarian issue and who to ask for a full investigation. Irfan Siddiqui said that as far as I know more than 200 Pakistanis are still languishing in Indian prisons”.

Recall that Sumaira, daughter of a Pakistani family residing in Qatar, had married Muhammad Shehab, an Indian Muslim citizen in Qatar. Shehab brought his wife to India without a visa, where Sumaira was arrested and imprisoned in Bangalore.

Two months later, she gave birth to a baby girl who also remained in prison for four years with her mother. They were released last year after paying a one million rupee fine that the people of Bangalore collected.

After her release, Sumaira was placed in a detention center for not having a Pakistani citizenship certificate demanded by the relevant authorities in June 2018. The issue was raised by Senator Irfan Siddiqui in the Senate on February 14 and again on February 17. According to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the certificate was issued on February 17.

According to the Foreign Ministry report, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has contacted Sumaira and is actively seeking his release. Sources have informed that she is expected to return to Pakistan in the coming days.

Betty K. Park