Pakistani woman stranded in India wishes to return home to Dubai
Dubai - Ayesha and her husband Mohammed Farhan (33) were supposed to return to Dubai in late March.
A Dubai-based Pakistani woman stranded in India for nearly five months is seeking help to come back home.
Married to an Indian, 32-year-old Ayesha Ajaib flew to her husband's hometown in Kolkata on February 21 to introduce her newborn son to his paternal grandparents.
Ayesha and her husband Mohammed Farhan (33) were supposed to return to Dubai in late March.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19-triggered travel restrictions, the couple is stuck in Kolkata.
"Ayesha's family has been associated with Dubai for over 40 years. When travel curbs were introduced in the UAE and India, Ayesha's family was in Pakistan. Luckily, all of them have returned to Dubai. Only we are still stuck here," Farhan told Khaleej Times.
Ayesha said this was her second visit to India. "My first visit was in 2019. I was born and raised in Dubai. I met my husband in Dubai in 2015 and we got married in 2018," said Ayesha.
The couple has received travel approvals from Dubai's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. Pakistanis are only allowed to travel from three ports in India - Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. "The lockdown and subsequent travel restrictions happened suddenly. We could not go back due to my nationality," added Ayesha.
Pakistani nationals have to undergo additional layers of paperwork to be able to travel to India and back.
"Before applying for the visa, there needs to be a recommendation letter signed by a gazetted officer. The homes of our sponsor - my mother in this case - needs to be inspected by a local police officer," explained Farhan.
Once the local police verification is complete, the report is mailed to the Consulate-General of India in Dubai or the Indian Embassy, from where the visa is issued. "There cannot be a direct flight to Kolkata. We have to go to Mumbai and take a connecting flight," said Farhan.
"Once we reach Kolkata, we need to present ourselves to the local Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and get another document. The visa is valid for 90 days. However, I have extended her current visa online and the local authorities have been extremely supportive," added Farhan.
The couple wants nothing more than get back to their home in Dubai. A business owner, Farhan's two businesses have suffered some complications since his departure from Dubai. He is also considering booking tickets on a private jet. "However, that is a last-minute option. The tickets are too expensive," he said.