Legislators and community members applauded the approval of Vehka's application, citing it as a 'civilising' move that reflected well on the government. Christine Loh Kung-wai, a former legislator and head of the policy think-tank Civic Exchange, said: 'It is very positive news and I applaud it. It is a breakthrough and a civilising one where we are not basing nationality on ethnicity.' Ms Loh, with legislators Emily Lau Wai-hing and James To Kun-sun, worked closely with Hong Kong's ethnic minorities in lobbying for British passports in the early 1990s. Ravi Gidumal, a member of Hong Kong Against Race Discrimination, said he was pleasantly surprised. 'Before the handover, Chinese government officials were quoted as stating that the problem of Hong Kong's ethnic minorities was a matter for the British to resolve and not the Chinese government,' he said. Mr To said since successive generations of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong granted British citizenship would not be eligible for British passports, the government had to give them the opportunity for Chinese nationality. 'It is natural for them to choose Hong Kong and for the Hong Kong government . . . to grant those with legitimate reasons Chinese nationality.' Mr To said the case showed the SAR government did not have discriminatory policies or practices and he expected more people would now apply. 'This demonstrates that the Hong Kong government is at least doing good enough for people to be stripped of any great fear.' Ms Lau said that while she welcomed the news, she would prefer to wait and see whether this was an exception. A spokesman for the Pakistan Islamic Welfare Union, S. J. Raghbi, said the Immigration Department had told him non-Chinese citizens who held permanent identity cards and wanted to apply for an SAR passport, 'may consider applying for naturalisation as a Chinese national'. The Indian Consulate had no comment. Pakistani Consular officer Zaheer Khan said the consulate was not aware of any of its nationals obtaining Chinese nationality. More than two million passports have been issued since 1997. Holders have visa-free access to 122 countries and territories.