Why I Converted 1-Month Executive Visas Of Pakistanis To 5-Year Judicial Visas
Justice Markandey Katju explains his decision as a judge of Allahabad High Court to convert 1-month executive visas of Pakistanis travelling to India to 5-year judicial visas.
When I was a Judge of Allahabad High Court, a large number of writ petitions were filed before me by Pakistani nationals who were on a 1 month visa to India, and when this period expired, were served with deportation orders by the Indian authorities for not going back to Pakistan.
They challenged these deportation orders in the High Court, and in all these cases I gave a month’s time to the government to file a counter affidavit, and passed this interim order that the petitioner will not be deported till further orders.
In substance, this meant that the 1 month executive visa granted by the External Affairs Ministry of the Indian government had been converted into a 5 year visa by my judicial order. Because in view of the heavy pendency of cases in the Allahabad High Court, (about a million) a case in which some order was passed would next be listed after about 5 years. In the meantime, my interim order would continue.
Why did I do this? I can reveal the secret now since I have retired.
Most of these Pakistanis who came on 1 month’s visa to India were old people in their 60s or 70s. They were mohajirs, or persons who had migrated in their youth from India in 1947 or so in their emotional zeal to become part of an ‘Islamic Republic’ or out of fear of being persecuted in India on account of their religion. But many had left behind relatives, and in the evening of their lives wanted to return to the land of their birth and live with their brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc.
Their plight has been described in vivid detail by the great Indian Urdu poet Munawwar Rana in his book ‘ Mohajirnama ‘ e.g.
” Mohajir hain, magar hum ek duniya chhor aaye hain “
In poignant verses which bring tears to one’s eyes he writes,
“Bhateeji ab saleeke se dupatta odhti hogi
Wahi jisko jhoole mein humakta chhor aaye hain”
“Muharram mein hamaara Lucknow Iran lagta tha
Madad Maula Husainabad rota chhor aaye hain “
“Gale milti huin nadiyaan, gale milte hue mausam
Allahabad ka kaisa nazaara chhor aaye hain “
Many of these mohajirs have their ancestors’ graves in India, and would like to have their own graves too near their ancestors’. They wanted to spend the rest of their life in the land of their youth, where many relatives and friends were still living. So naturally, they wanted to stay on.
Now I have never accepted Partition of India, and have repeatedly said that it was a historical British swindle (see my article ‘ The Truth about Pakistan ‘ online).
So I regard all Pakistanis as Indians. It follows that when a Pakistani comes to India, it is really an Indian who has come to India. How then can he be deported from India?
Of course I did not say this in my orders, but this was really what was in my mind while passing such orders.
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.