The move by the government has been slammed; Aatish is a well-known critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ahead of the 2019 General Elections, he had written a scathing article in Time magazine, critiquing the failures of the Modi government.
The article was titled ‘India’s Divider In Chief’ and had explored the question of whether the world’s largest democracy could endure another five years of a Modi government.
Even as India does not permit dual citizenship, an OCI card allows foreign citizens to stay and work in India for an indefinite period of time. Aatish tweeted on Thursday that he had been given just 24 hours to reply, as opposed to the usual 21 days. Attaching a screenshot of the acknowledgement he received, the journalist also showed that he had, in fact, replied to the government, raising objections to the move. “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.” (sic) he wrote.
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
Aatish Taseer is the son of columnist Tavleen Singh, an Indian citizen, and late Salman Taseer, who served as the Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province when he was assassinated in the year 2011. He had received a Person of Indian Origin card in the year 2000, subsequently converted to an OCI card. In response to a Twitter user pointing out that Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s grandson was an Indian citizen by birth, Tavleen Singh tweeted, “Thank you for this reminder. Aatish’s mother has also always been an Indian citizen. And, his right to live here was never questioned until he wrote an article that the Home Minister did not like.”
The Union Home Ministry spokesperson tweeted that reports of the move being prompted by the journalist’s article in the Time were ‘a complete misrepresentation and is devoid of any facts’.
“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. Thus, Mr. 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,” the spokesperson further said.
(With IANS input)