Aatish Taseer filed a suit with the Supreme Court of India on Friday challenging the Indian government’s order to revoke his overseas citizenship card (OCI) earlier this month.
The government had cited a rule mentioning his ineligibility to hold an OCI card, as per the Citizenship Act of 1955, because the OCI card is not issued to any person whose parents or grandparents are Pakistanis.
“Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO application, concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani-origin", the Indian Home Ministry said on 7 November, adding that Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but he failed to dispute the notice which was denied by the British writer.
Salman Taseer, father of Aatish, was a prominent Pakistani politician who was assassinated in 2011 by a bodyguard for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. His mother Tavleen Singh, a prominent Indian journalist, brought him up as single parent.
The writer-journalist has received massive support from prominent personalities across the globe with a support letter from authors, journalists, activists, and artists addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The support letter was signed by 260 people including CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour, author Salman Rushdie, senior journalist Sir Harold Evans, and author Jhumpa Lahiri urging the government of India to review its decision.
260 prominent individuals including authors @MargaretAtwood @SalmanRushdie @GhoshAmitav write an open letter to Indian PM Narendra Modi to express concern over journalist and author @AatishTaseer being stripped of his Overseas Indian Citizenship. https://t.co/O323YSVEOE @pen_int— Chris O'Neill-Yates (@oneillyatescbc) November 20, 2019
Several people have even accused the Indian government of taking revenge on Taseer because in May of this year the latter wrote a cover story for Time magazine criticising Prime Minister Modi and called him “India’s Divider in Chief”.
Responding to the article on 18 May, Modi said that Time magazine is foreign, and “the writer has also said he comes from a Pakistani political family. That is enough for his credibility”.