The Indian government has revoked the Overseas Citizenship of India status for UK born writer Aatish Taseer. Releasing a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed that the writer had concealed that his father was a Pakistani citizen.
Responding to the government’s decision, Taseer said he felt he was being punished for the article he wrote in May for Time magazine. The writer further claimed that the government did not give him much time to respond to the charges.
Sharing the message on its Twitter handle @PIBHomeAffairs, the MHA said, ‘Mr. Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO application, concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin."
"Mr. Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice," it added in a series of tweets. "Thus, Aatish Ali Taseer becomes ineligible to hold an OCI card as per the Citizenship Act, 1955. He has clearly not complied with very basic requirements and hidden information."
This is untrue. Here is the Consul General's acknowledgment of my reply. I was given not the full 21 days, but rather 24 hours to reply. I've heard nothing from the ministry since. https://t.co/z7OtTaLLeO pic.twitter.com/t3LBWUtkdi
- Aatish Taseer (@AatishTaseer) November 7, 2019
Who is Aatish Taseer?
Earlier this year, Taseer had written an article in May in Time Magazine under the title ‘Divider in chief’, referring to PM Modi. The article attracted huge criticism in the country at the time. However, after Modi came back to power, the magazine came back with another article praising the prime minister.
Aatish is the son of Salmaan Taseer, a Pakistani national. His mother is Tavleen Singh, a columnist, political reporter and writer.
In 1982, Tavleen said in an affidavit that she was the sole guardian of Aatish and that her son did not meet his father till he was 21 years of age in 2002. He did not meet his father after 2005-06, she added.
Salmaan was born in Shimla in undivided India. His mother was a British passport-holder. A senior politician in Pakistan, he was assassinated on January 4, 2011. He served as governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province from 2008 until his death.
Taseer has a British passport and a Green Card in the US. The author grew up in India. However he was never stamped an Indian visa.
While he got his first PIO card in 1999, the writer was issued an OCI card in 2016, after PIO and OCI cards were merged.
OCI Card conditions for citizens of Pakistan
Those who are foreign nationals but wish to be overseas citizens of India are eligible for this card, provided they clear certain parameters. However, as per the official OCI registration website, "No person, who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India card holder".
"OCI card should not be granted to minor children whose one parent is eligible for OCI card, if the other parent is or was ever a Pakistani or Bangladesh national", it further says.