Gujarat Govt Loses Legal Battle as High Court Allows Pakistani to Return Home After 4 Years

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The Gujarat High Court directed the state and Central administrations to hand Vohra the necessary documents at the earliest to facilitate his departure.

The Gujarat High Court even told Indian authorities to waive all fees levied for Vora’s overstay in the country and return his original documents to enable him to “go back to Pakistan the way he pleases.”

Clarion India

AHMEDABAD — The Bharatiya Janata Party-controlled Gujarat government, which had been thwarting a stranded Pakistani national’s attempts to return to his home country for the past four years, finally had to bite the dust on Monday.

The Gujarat High Court, while allowing 28-year-old Sajjad Vora to leave for his home in Karachi, directed the state and Central administrations to hand him the necessary documents at the earliest to facilitate his departure.

Disposing of petitions filed by Vora as well as the Pakistan High Commission, the court not only ordered the Surat police to issue him the mandatory no-objection certificate (NOC) by August 29 but also asked the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to provide an all-important exit permit to the Pakistani within a week from the date of the NOC.

What’s more, the court even told FRRO to waive all fees levied for Vora’s overstay in India and return his original documents to enable him to “go back to Pakistan the way he pleases.”

Armed with a one-year travel visa, the Karachi resident belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra community had come to Surat to meet his relatives in November, 2016. But, a month later, when he and his kinsmen were leaving for Mumbai from the Surat railway station for a religious gathering, the police nabbed him with demonetised currency worth Rs 50,000.

Vora was booked and prosecuted before a sessions court in Surat which set him free in August 2018 even as his visa expired in 2017. But he was not permitted to leave India as the state administration went to the High Court and appealed against the acquittal by the lower court but the appeal was thrown out and Vora was allowed to walk free in July, 2019.

Overjoyed after the clean chit, he rushed to the FRRO in Mumbai for an exit visa as his visa had expired in 2017. But the FRRO asked him to produce an NOC from the Surat railway police who had collared him in 2016 but the latter did not oblige Vora.

In June, he again knocked at the door of the Gujarat High Court with a special civil application seeking directions to the Indian authorities to provide him permission to return to Pakistan. But on July 6, a year after Vora was absolved of all the charges, the state government upset his applecart by unfolding plans to challenge his acquittal by the High Court in the Supreme Court even as the Pakistan High Commission learnt about his plight and moved a strongly-worded habeas corpus petition in the High Court.

The embassy had said in the petition that “the life and liberty of the illegal detainee are in danger at the hands of respondents (state government) and the future uncertain as he faces darkness around him, with denial of any hearing, by any authority.”

With the apex court rejecting the Gujarat government’s appeal against Vora’s acquittal last week, the High Court on Monday disposed of the petitions of both Vora and the Pakistan embassy, and paved the way for his return to Karachi after being stuck in Surat for four years.

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