India revokes journalist Aatish Taseer’s overseas ID because of ‘Pakistani father’

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The Indian government has revoked the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card of journalist Aatish Taseer over his alleged attempt to “conceal information” that his father, Salmaan Taseer, was of Pakistani origin, Dawn reported.

According to the details, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, in an official statement, has said that Aatish “failed to dispute the notice” it had sent, asking him to explain the lapse, however, Aatish has denied this claim.

The statement further said that Aatish had only provided details of his mother, who is a veteran Indian journalist, Tavleen Singh.

Disputing the government’s version, Aatish on Thursday tweeted the picture of an email exchange with the Indian consul general, wherein he had objected to the ministry’s claim.

He said that he would not be able to travel to India now, even on a tourist visa, adding, “They have accused me of fraud. They have blacklisted me. I cannot come to India as an ordinary citizen. My grandmother is 90 years old and lives in India and I may never see her again.”

Aatish also said that cancellation of his Indian overseas citizenship was part of a “sinister plan”. “First they ruined my reputation by getting one of their men to call me a radical Islamist and then they moved against me after leaking the story to the press,” he added.

He said he had lived in India between the ages of two and 10, and then 26 to 35. “I have local bank accounts, a biometric identification number and have paid taxes in the country.”

Aatish, who grew up in Delhi and studied at the Kodaikanal International School in Tamil Nadu, now lives in New York. He had received his Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card in 2000.

PIO is a facility that provides visa-free travel to India, which in Aatish’s case, had later converted into an OCI card.

In his OCI application, he had referred to his mother as an Indian national and his father, former Pakistani Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, who was assassinated in 2011, as a “British national” as, to the “best of his knowledge”, his father held a British passport.

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