Temporary/permanent residence permit for foreign spouse of Pakistani citizens
Petitioning: Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interiour
Petitioner: Nataliya Zhilina started on October 13, 2016
Concerning legal status of foreign wives of Pakistani citizens
Violation of reciprocity by Islamic Republic of Pakistan
We would like to bring to your immediate attention the problem regarding the legal status of foreign wives of Pakistani citizens temporary or permanently residing in Pakistan.
According to the international legal practice of family reunification in the countries of European Union, CIS, USA, Canada, Australia, the foreign spouses are granted immigration visas beyond the quota to the countries where the family members are residing. Immigration is not necessarily followed by embracing the citizenship of the country of residence. The foreign spouses can retain their original citizenship and get the temporary/permanent residency permit including work permit and they are granted other essential freedoms and rights e.g. right to obtain medical help, education, social security etc.
According to the information available through Directorate General of Immigration and Passports of the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan there is no such policy available for the foreign spouses in Pakistan. We are getting 3 month, 1 year "family visit" visas which does not reflect our actual status and does not meet our needs. The mothers of children, the wives of Pakistani citizens, we are not here for a visit, we are full-fledged members of the society and entitled to the full range of rights and freedoms provided, guaranteed and protected by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to its citizens excluding the right to be elected to the public authorities and to vote.
We need to work to support the family, to purchase the property and conduct other legal activities with movable and immovable property, open and operate bank accounts, run businesses and carry out other legal activities at the territory of Pakistan. When entering Pakistani schools, visiting historical sites, using public services we should be charged the same rates as Pakistani citizens. We are not rich tourists in Pakistan; most of us are dependent on their husbands earnings.
Our home countries provide the same kind of rights and freedoms to Pakistani citizens residing temporary and permanently in our countries. They can maintain their status even after the death of the citizen spouse or divorce. Pakistan should do the same on the basis of reciprocity. In our countries our foreign spouses (of citizens) are granted green cards, temporary/permanent residence permits, immigration visas beyond any quota. We have to inform the embassies of our home countries in Pakistan about the lack of reciprocity towards granting the same status to us.
The only option available for us was POC card (though it did not quite meet our specific needs). At this point, even that has been suspended by NADRA without any further explanations and suggestions to the holders. The local offices of Directorate General of Immigration and Passports can offer only 1 year visit visa to the women who lived in Pakistan 2 and more years, whose children were born here. Our status is worse than of "aliens", "foreign housemaids", "foreign businessmen" and tourists since we are paying much more, simply to stay with our families and grow our children!
We kindly request you to take immediate measures in order to fulfill this gap in Pakistani legislation, fulfill the obligation of the State of Pakistan towards foreign nationals residing on its territory on the basis of reciprocity and issue the temporary/permanent residence permits to the deserving couples. A policy of fairness and humaneness allows Pakistani expatriates in the West to acquire permanent residence status on the basis of marriage and it behooves the state of Pakistan to adopt such a policy. It is conceivable that the Western countries could take away the privilege granted to Pakistani expatriates, once word gets around of the treatment of their legally married nationals in Pakistan.