In Ahmedabad, he works at his cousin’s mobile store next to the airport. “We escaped terrorists and found safety here, but nobody is willing to help us put our lives back on track,“ he says.
Lohana, a father of three, used to earn Rs 80,000 a month in Karachi. He now offers `sewa’ in a charitable hospital for Rs 20,000 a month. He had applied for the job of a medical officer in rural areas and his application was forwarded by the state government to MCI, which declined to certify him as he is not an Indian citizen. A foreign-educated doctor has to obtain Indi an citizenship and clear the mandatory screening test to practise in India,“ says MCI chairman Dr Jayshree Mehta. Very few of these doctors have Indian citizenship, much as they would like to get it. They stay on long-term visas, renewable every year, which prohibit them from taking jobs.
As per the rules, Pakistanis can apply for Indian citizenship after staying here for seven years. The process takes another two to three years and then one encounters the red tape at MCI. Dr Girdharilal Sinchani, 42, knows it all too well. He did his MBBS from Karachi in 1997 and came to India in 2001. He got citizenship in February 2014 but has been waiting for MCI approval for the past 14 months. “We came here hoping for a better life, but while there is safety , we can’t get jobs or buy property to live or do business.“