Sajida, the Indian-born wife of Pakistani national Siraj Khan who faces deportation to Pakistan after accidentally entering India 18 years ago, filed a petition in Bombay High Court seeking a stay on the process on Tuesday.
The petition, filed with the help of advocate Anjali Awasthi and social activist Imraan Khan, states that all rights of Sajida and her children to receive proper maintenance and care from Siraj flow from Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The petition reads, “If Siraj is deported to Pakistan, Sajida and her children will be deprived of food, shelter, clothes, medicines, health as they are completely dependent on Siraj for all their day-to-day needs and requirements. Due to his imprisonment and subsequent detention, the financial, physical and mental condition of his wife and her children has already deteriorated and worsened.” The petition points out that meanwhile, on June 1, 2014, the petitioners were informed by the police that deportation process of Siraj was near completion, and that he was likely to be deported to Pakistan within next few days.
The 28-year-old mother of three, states as an Indian citizen and legally wedded wife of Siraj, she can claim her fundamental rights, which are “linked, attached and embodied” with that of her husband’s.
Sajida on May 26, 2014, made an application to the Ministry of External Affairs, seeking grant of Indian citizenship to her husband. She claims, in her petition, Siraj is willing to renounce his Pakistani citizenship. Sajida states that the application is pending before the ministry and therefore his deportation should be put in “abeyance”.
Moreover, Sajida states that Siraj’s detention was slated to end on June 5, 2014. “However, the said detention is likely to be extended by another order,” she said in the petition.
Siraj had entered India in 1996, when he was around 11 years old, and later did odd jobs in Mumbai. In 2009, Siraj tried visiting his native village, Sharkool in Manshera district of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. He, therefore, approached police authorities, who asked him to furnish documents showing that he was a Pakistani national. On submission of the documents, the Crime Branch arrested Siraj for staying in India without any valid permission as per the petition.
After her husband’s release on bail on January 1, 2010, Sajida consulted a lawyer and filed a petition in the High Court in 2012. She had then sought declaration of his citizenship status as an Indian or a Pakistani. The petition was, however, rejected.
On January 4, 2014, the Magistrate Court passed an order, convicting Siraj under the Passport Rules and Section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act. After serving his sentence and coming out of prison, Siraj was again detained by the RAK Marg police station on May 6, 2014 and is under detention since then.