Liberalize visas for Afghans

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The Indian government has done well to help Afghan minorities, but all Afghans need help

In a welcome step, the government granted emergency electronic visas to 111 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus after the Islamic State terrorist attack on the Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul last Saturday. The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and Afghan minorities are vulnerable to attacks by Islamic extremists. Therefore, Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who wish to come to India should be immediately supported. However, emergency e-visas are also to be extended to other Afghans who wish to temporarily migrate to India. In fact, many such requests are already pending with the GOI. Eliminating them will create immense goodwill among the Afghan people for New Delhi and they will be eternally grateful.

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Moreover, when providing humanitarian aid, it is not possible to divide people into well-defined groups. Take for example the case of Iqra Jamal, an Indian national currently stranded 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 desperate to return to India with her child. But she is reluctant to leave behind her husband who has already applied for an emergency e-visa and is waiting for an answer.

Read also: India grants visas to 111 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, around 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 underscore the need for a more liberal approach to issuing emergency electronic visas to Afghan nationals. The situation in Afghanistan today is dire for everyone. So, India has to lend a hand here. This will also help preserve its strategic interests in Afghanistan and counter the influence of Pakistan and China there.



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