To discourage the influx of illegal immigrants, the government is contemplating on a plan to deport African nationals, spending jail sentences for their illegal activities, to their home countries. An official in the Ministry of Interior, while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday, said, “The move is aimed at discouraging those foreigners who are found involved in anti-social activities such as drug smuggling and street crimes.”
As part of the extradition strategy, Pakistan last year extradited many African nationals including 30 Tanzanians from the Adiala Jail. Many of them were sentenced for their involvement in drug smuggling, street crimes and illegal stay in Pakistan while a few of them were also found guilty of threatening innocent people.
“Another 100 prisoners from African countries are in process of deportation,” he added.
Those illegal foreigners who were jailed after being sentenced by the courts will also be extradited even if they have not completed their jail term.
Like other major cities of Pakistan, Islamabad and Rawalpindi have also witnessed an influx of illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh and African countries.
In many cases, the government did not collect fine, imposed by the courts, from the foreigners before they were deported. Apart from this leniency, the government also provided travel expenses to such deportees when their embassies in Islamabad refused to pay for their air tickets.
The authorities during the course of deportation found that many African nationals were holding fake passports and identity documents of other countries including that of Tanzania.
The visiting delegation found that four African national prisoners out of 22 were possessing fake Tanzanian passports and identity records. Pakistan extradited 18 prisoners to their home countries immediately.
The authorities suspected that all four prisoners in possession fake Tanzanian passports might have been wanted by their country of origin or they might have been involved in terrorist activities somewhere in the world. “In most cases diehard criminals and terrorists use fake passports to dodge police and investigators,” the official said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2013.