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The Rediff Special/George Iype in Kochi

August 11, 2004

The hopes of an Indian doctor, who fell in love with a Pakistani and married him, now hinge on a little baby boy she delivered on August 3.

Dr Divya Dayanandan hopes the Pakistan government will grant her citizenship because she has given birth to her first child in Pakistan.

Divya, who hails from Kerala's Kayamkulam town, is the only daughter of Dayanandan and Vasantha. She fell in love with her classmate Aman Khan when they were studying medicine at the Lovo Medical School in Ukraine.

Khan abandoned his studies midway and returned to Pakistan, but their love grew over telephone calls.

Soon after getting her degree, Divya headed to Pakistan and married Khan in August 2003. She changed her name to Hafsa and converted to Islam and settled down with Khan in Mardan in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

But marital bliss didn't last too long. Divya's application for Pakistani citizenship was rejected by the interior ministry and she was ordered to leave the country.

Khan challenged the order in the high court in the northwestern city of Peshawar and secured a stay. The case is expected to come up for hearing in coming weeks.

But their troubles are not restricted to an insensitive interior ministry. The couple also fear attacks from religious extremists given the state of Indo-Pak relations.

NWFP is one the most conservative provinces in Pakistan.

'I am deeply concerned why the Pakistan government has not granted citizenship to my wife even though it was granted routinely in the past. The law says the spouse of a Pakistani citizen is entitled to citizenship. Now I am told that living in Pakistan is very dangerous since I married a Hindu girl,' newspapers have quoted Khan as saying.

Back in India, Divya's mother is worried.

"I pray every day so that my daughter and her child come to Kerala with her husband. This is a better place to settle down for my daughter and son-in-law," Vasantha Dayanandan told rediff.com

Vasantha says her daughter went to Pakistan to get married without informing her family because she feared reprisals by Hindu fundamentalists in India.

"I am now eager to see my grandson. I talk to my daughter over the telephone often. I am sure nobody here [in India] will have any problems because my daughter married a Pakistani. I fear for her life if she stays in Pakistan," Vasantha said.

Vasantha has sent a request to External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh to take up her daughter's plight with the Pakistani government.

She has also approached local MP C S Sujatha, requesting her to meet Singh. "I wish my daughter returns and settles down here. I plead with her every day," says Vasantha.


The Rediff Specials


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Number of User Comments: 37




Sub: Hafsa's dilema

Look for a third country to settle down. Although the people from the two contries belong to the same stock, they will never learn to ...


Posted by aviator





Sub: Indian girl's marriage to a pakistani man

It would be better for Divya and her husband to settle in India as Hindus. Let her husband reciprocate the gesture of Divya and convert ...


Posted by devadasb





Sub: Fighting for love in Pakistan

Its Love i think . U Cant get it Easy ...Can it ? Anyway ...as for the issue ... I think the Core idea is ...


Posted by Satya





Sub: GOD BLESS YOU

You have every right to be concerned. Being a Keralite I feel your daughter and family will be safe in Kerala. At least in that ...


Posted by nanduus





Sub: What kind of News item is this

First of all what is the point making here. What the state has to do with the life of person who married a foreigner at ...


Posted by Seema




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