Liberalise Visas for Afghans

GOI has done well to help Afghan minorities, but all Afghans need help

In a welcome move, government has granted emergency e-visas to 111 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus after the Islamic State terror attack on the Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul last Saturday. The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and Afghan minorities are vulnerable to attacks from Islamist extremists. Therefore, those Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who want to come to India must be immediately supported. However, the emergency e-visas must also be expanded to other Afghans who want to temporarily migrate to India. In fact, many such applications are already pending with GOI. Clearing these will create immense goodwill among the Afghan people for New Delhi and they will be eternally grateful.

Plus, when providing humanitarian assistance, dividing people into neat groups is not possible. Take for example the case of Iqra Jamal, an Indian national currently stuck in Afghanistan. She is married to an Afghan national whom she met when they were both studying in India. Iqra recently gave birth to a baby girl and is understandably desperate to return to India with her child. But she is reluctant to leave her husband behind who has already applied for an emergency e-visa and is waiting for a response.

Read also: India grants visas to 111 Afghan Sikhs & Hindus, about 60 applications still pending

In such a situation, it would be patently inhumane to allow Iqra to return to India with her child but not with her Afghan husband. Such cases highlight the need for a more liberal approach towards granting emergency e-visas for Afghan nationals. The situation in Afghanistan today is dire for all there. Thus, India must lend a helping hand here. This will also help preserve its strategic interests in Afghanistan and counter Pakistan’s and China’s influence in that country.



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