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UP: Pakistani woman found running Panchayat affairs as interim head; administration blames village heads

A Pakistani woman who came to India more than three decades ago and never went back was appointed as interim head of a village Panchayat in Uttar Pradesh's Etah. The state administration has ordered an FIR against her.

According to reports, Bano Begum came to India from Karachi 35 years ago to attend a relative's wedding in Etah. But she never went back to Pakistan and has been staying in India ever since on an extended visa.

She even got married to a local resident and has a family here in Gudau village.

In January last year, Bano was made the interim head following the death of the Village Pradhan Shahnaz Begum and was officiating on matters related to Gudau village panchayat.

However, she was forced to resign from her post in December after a resident of the village approached the authorities stating that Begum was a Pakistani national.

While speaking to media, Begum said, "I never contested elections. It was former Pradhan who made me village head. I don't know much."

District Panchayati Raj Officer, Etah, Alok Priyadarshi said, "Members of Gram Panchayat unanimously elected her as village head. So, they are responsible for this. One needs to be an Indian national to be elected as village Panchayat head. We have given instructions to lodge FIR in this case."

Reportedly, the 65-year-old woman was never granted Indian citizenship but she has got the Aadhaar, voter ID and other documents, all while staying on a long-term visa.

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