Bikaner, February 19: The authorities here have issued an order asking Pakistani nationals staying illegally to leave the border district within 48 hours, citing a threat to law and order. The order issued by the Bikaner district collector days after the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans has also banned the use of any phone sim card issued in Pakistan.
It appears to be directed against Pakistani citizens who overstay their visa, or fail to register themselves with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) if they are on a long visit. Bikaner collector Kumarpal Gautam said the order, issued on Monday, does not apply to Pakistani nationals who have registered themselves with the FRO. Gautam said his order applied to Pakistanis who find employment here after arriving on a “long-term” visa and those who start staying in Bikaner even though their visa restricted them to other areas in the country. Pakistan Army Convoy Attacked Days After Pulwama Strike, Nine Killed: Report.
Under a reciprocal arrangement, India normally grants visa to Pakistanis travelling on pilgrimage or to meet their relatives in the country, with restrictions placed on the places they can visit. “It is a sensitive zone so prohibitory orders have been issued,” Gautam said. He said hotels and other establishments have been directed not to allow Pakistanis staying illegally in the district.
The official did not give the number of Pakistanis in the district. The Rajasthan districts of Bikaner, Barmer, Jaisalmer and Sriganganagar share the border with Pakistan. However, no such order has been issued in the other border districts so far. The collector said there is resentment among the people after the Pulwama terror attack.
Therefore the movement of Pakistani nationals in the district may create a law and order problem and also pose a threat to their own lives, the order said.
Pakistanis staying in rural and urban areas of Bikaner must leave the district within 48 hours, it added. “No Pakistani citizen can stay in any hotel, inn or hospital in Bikaner. No Indian citizen in Bikaner will have direct or indirect commercial relations with any Pakistani citizen and will not give employment to them,” the order said.
However, it clarified that this did not apply to the Pakistani visitors registered with the FRO. Among those who have overstayed their visa here are Hindus from Pakistan, who allege persecution in that country. They are staying in places like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Bikaner.
Jodhpur-based activist Hindu Singh Sodha said the district authorities should have registered the unregistered Hindu migrants instead of issuing such an order. He claimed there are about 25,000 Pakistani nationals in Rajasthan and nearly 5,000 of them are not registered with the FRO. Most of the Pakistani Hindu long-stayers are in Jodhpur, and a few in Bikaner, according to him.