Living in limbo

Living in Limbo’ is about the ‘Pak’ citizens living in Kerala; all of them are Keralites by birth. There are 11people; all are above 60 years, in Kozhikode Rural district alone who went looking for jobs to Lahore and Karachi in Pakistan just before and after Partition. They were seeking a better source of livelihood to support their large joint families back home, and did not see much difference between Mumbai and Karachi at the time. Most of them were cheated by visa agents as they were taken from Mumbai to Dubai in the small ships.

Their problems began with Pakistan’s decision after Partition not to allow migrants who wanted to visit their families back home to leave the country without a Pakistani passport. They unsuspectingly accepted the Pakistani passport, making them permanently suspect in the eyes of Indian authorities. As sheer quirk of fate, and due to the intricate politics of nationality between India and Pakistan, all of them became aliens in their own birth place for the simple reason that they were holders of Pakistan passport.

In their old age now, they live under the mercy of temporary visa extensions and by regularly visiting local police stations or courts to avoid the perpetual threat of deportation to Pakistan, which is the real alien land for them now. They have only one merciful appeal to the Indian authorities: Permission to remain with their dear and near ones during this fag end of their lives! None of them had any past crime record. Yet, the authorities viewed these “Pak citizens” with the tinge of suspicious “Pak agents” to deny them Indian citizenship all through these years.