ISLAMABAD: Thousands of illegal Pakistani immigrants in the United Kingdom might be facing deportation in coming months after Islamabad and London renewed an agreement to send back each other’s citizens travelling on fake documents.
But both countries have apparently decided to hold more negotiations before finalising an impending extradition treaty for the exchange of criminals.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) empowering authorities from both sides to curb illegal immigration was signed here on Tuesday during a meeting between Interior Minister Rehman Malik and his British counterpart Theresa May.
As per the understanding, Malik told journalists that illegal immigrants from Pakistan and the UK would be deported to their respective countries.
Appearing at a joint news conference with May, Malik said the renewed MoU would cover illegal immigrants only and was not an extradition treaty or exchange of criminals.
May said the renewal of the MoU was a part of bilateral efforts to strengthen the immigration system. She made it clear that action would be taken against illegal Pakistani immigrants who land in her country.
Malik appeared to be dismissing any possibility of sending the military to hunt down al Qaeda affiliates allegedly plotting to strike inside Europe. “This is our soil… we know where and when to move against the militants,” the minister said.
He said both countries discussed a number of issues, including terrorism, human trafficking and crimes against women. Malik added that both countries expressed concern over the increase in human trafficking from one part of the globe to the other. The two sides have decided to set up a task force to handle the menace.
He said the illegal immigrants deported from the UK to Pakistan would be prosecuted under the law and added that human trafficking agents would also be taken to task.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2010.
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