"There are only two nationality options on the application form: Indian, and Overseas Citizen of India/Non-Resident Indian", Mashal said.

She belongs to neither category, as she and her family are here on a long-term visa since they fled religious persecution in Pakistan.

The USCIFR also says that in Pakistan, minorities like Hindus, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Shi'a and Ahmadiyya Muslims suffer from "chronic sectarian and religiously-motivated violence from both terrorist organizations and individuals within society." The Commission says the nation's anti-blasphemy laws "inherently violate international standards of freedom of religion or belief" and that there's even "discriminatory content against minorities in provincial textbooks".

Over the years, scores of Hindus have fled Pakistan to seek refuge and citizenship in secular, democratic India.

The BJP-led government is set to propose an amendment to the Citizenship Act 1955 in order to make it easier for Pakistan Hindus to acquire Indian citizenship. Mashal Maheshwari, a 19-year-old Pakistani Hindu who migrated to India in 2014, was in the news recently for not being allowed to appear take the All India Pre Medical Test despite scoring 91 percent in the Class XII examinations.

Here's a snapshot of the community: 1.9 million Hindus in Pakistan Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) states on its website that there are 1.92 million Pakistani Hindus in Pakistan (a mere 1.2 % of the national population), of whom a staggering 96 % live in rural Sindh (there are also small populations in Punjab and Baluchistan.

Most Pakistani Hindus from the interior of Sindh and Baluchistan are considered to be 'scheduled caste' Hindus in their country.

In 2015, a reported official estimate of Hindu and Sikh refugees in India stood at 200,000.

However, living in India as a Pakistani migrant or refugee can involve new challenges.

In the run-up to the 2014 Parliamentary elections, the ruling BJP's manifesto stated that ""India shall remain a natural home for persecuted Hindus and they shall be welcome to seek refuge here." In 2015, The BBC reported that the Indian government had informed it in writing that 1,400 Pakistanis - the vast majority of whom were Hindus - had become Indian citizens since 2011.

In the same year, it was also reported that 34,000 migrants from neighbouring states had acquired visas in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, and that the official estimate of Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan residing in India was 200,000.

Union External Affairs Minister (MEA) Sushma Swaraj personally took up the matter of Mashal who migrated to India and cannot appear for Pre Medical Test (PMT) because she is a refugee.