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Many Pak ‘persecuted’ minorities have not heard of India’s CAA

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ISLAMABAD: Amit Kumar, a trader from Sanghar district in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, has his bags packed to move to India at the earliest opportunity.
“I am seriously considering settling there. At least I won’t get killed because of my faith,” he said, claiming he now lives the life of “a second-class Pakistani citizen”. Amit belongs to a growing tribe of

religious minorities

in Pakistan apparently looking for an exit but largely unaware of the intricacies of India’s

Citizenship

Amendment Act.

CAA, a hot-button topic in India, is meant to grant citizenship to minority Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who fled

persecution

in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before Dec 31, 2014. Over the last two decades, dozens of Pakistani

Hindu refugees

have trooped to India in the face of socio-political and religious tensions that left them feeling vulnerable in the Muslim-majority country.
Abductions, blasphemy charges, attacks on places of worship and forced conversion of Hindu girls are some of the reasons for this slow but steady exodus. Iqbal Masih, a resident of Islamabad’s Christian colony, is unaware of CAA but not averse to immigrating if he is eligible for Indian citizenship. “Had I known such a law was in the making, I would’ve made an attempt to migrate long ago.”

Representatives of minority groups say they need to understand the significance of CAA before taking a view on the law. For a number of Pakistani Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, most of them economically underprivileged, immigration isn’t an option for reasons other than the limitations of CAA.
“Given our social and financial status, it would be more challenging for us to start afresh in India,” said Jaswant Singh, a Sikh cloth merchant in Peshawar. Pakistan’s 1.9 million-strong Hindu community is just about 1.2% of the population.

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