The Home Ministry is learnt to have received Baloch leader Brahumdagh Bugti’s application, seeking political asylum in India, and it is “being examined” by officials.
“On Wednesday, we received Bugti’s request for political asylum when it was referred to us by the Ministry of External Affairs. It is currently being examined,” a Home Ministry source said.
“The application can be approved only after security verification is carried out. It is a political decision that will be taken at the highest level, but we need to follow the process for the requisite paperwork,” the source said.
Bugti is the founder and president of Balochistan Republican Party. Currently living in exile in Switzerland, he has been leading the Baloch movement against Pakistan. He is the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader who was killed by Pakistani army in 2006.
The Pakistan government had accused India of helping Bugti flee Pakistan to Geneva in 2010 via Afghanistan.
While India has one of the largest refugee populations in South Asia, it is yet to enact a uniform law that addresses the asylum issue. The term “refugee” is not mentioned in any domestic law. Also, India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol that stipulates certain rights and services host states must provide refugees.
India does, however, have an informal refugee regime that is generally in line with international instruments. In the absence of a formal policy, the government decides on granting asylum on an ad hoc and case-to-case basis.
The MHA is now looking at records dating back to 1959, when the Dalai Lama and his followers were granted asylum, to understand the exact process involved, said sources.
Sources said if the government takes a decision in his favour, Bugti might be given a registration certificate or identity card on the basis of which he can stay in and travel from India.