431 Pak Hindus given long-term visas; can get PAN, Aadhaar, buy property
New Delhi: As many as 431 Pakistani nationals, mostly Hindus, have been granted long-term visas by the government, thus making them eligible for PAN and Aadhaar cards as well as allowing them to buy property, a home ministry official said.
The move, amidst the strained India-Pak relations, is in line with the Narendra Modi government's policy to help minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who come to India after facing alleged persecution in their home country.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs granted long-term visas to 431 Pakistani nationals last month. They are from minority communities of that country," an official said.
Under the latest policy of the Centre, those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, namely --Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians-- staying in India on long-term visas, are allowed to purchase a small dwelling unit sufficient to serve the needs of a family for self-use and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment.
However, they are barred from buying immovable property in and around restricted or protected areas, including cantonment regions.
Such communities are also allowed to obtain PAN cards, Aadhaar numbers and driving licences, take up self-employment or do business, and are allowed free movement within the state of their stay and transfer of long-term visa papers from one state to another.
The 431 Pakistani nationals with long-term visas will now also be able to open bank accounts without the prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.
The home ministry had also approved over 4,000 visa applications of people belonging to Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and a few select countries in September.