Pakistan has suspended deportation treaties with several Western countries over the alleged mistreatment of Pakistani immigrants abroad.
“The re-admission agreements have been frozen for the time being after some countries were found violating the treaty,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told media after inaugurating the one-window operation of driving licences in Islamabad on Friday.
Under the agreements, Pakistanis travelling illegally to any Western country were to be deported only after proper verification. However, most of the countries were deporting the migrants without due confirmation with the local authorities. Last year alone, around 90,000 people were sent back to Pakistan.
“Over the past several months, another dangerous trend has emerged under which Pakistanis travelling abroad without documents are deported over charges of terrorism... without even verifying whether or not they actually are Pakistanis,” Nisar claimed.
He said agreements with Western countries, except the United Kingdom, had been cancelled because of gross misuse. He added Europe should respect human rights.
“European countries are deporting Pakistanis after labelling them as potential terrorists,” he said. “This is not acceptable anymore. We will not let the airplane land here [if any deportees are found aboard].”
He was of the view that European countries should try the suspects in their own countries instead of sending them back or at least share information about them with the Pakistani authorities.
He directed all the Pakistani missions abroad to provide legal assistance to the Pakistanis to fight allegations of terrorism. “This one-way traffic will no longer be allowed,” he said.
Last week, the interior ministry had decided to outline standard operating procedures on accepting deportees from other countries and send the guidelines to the country’s foreign missions abroad. Nisar had said Pakistan would not be allowed to become a dumping ground for criminals from other countries.
The ministry has been forced into action after a scam unearthed earlier this year suggested dozens of international drug barons had been brought back to Pakistan from abroad and released without completing their jail terms.
Violence in India
Nisar also urged the international community to take notice of the persecution of Muslims in India and force New Delhi to stop crimes against minorities.
“We will take up the issue of Indian extremist groups' at all international forums,” vowed the minster. “We are very concerned over the plight of Muslims in India and also over the global community’s silence over the issue,” he said. “They are continuously ignoring human rights violations in India.”
Nisar added he would put up the issue in the upcoming cabinet meeting too. “The world must know the real face of India,” he said.
Shiv Sena, an ally of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has made headlines in recent weeks for its anti-Pakistan rhetoric and activities. The notoriously violent group has targeted high-profile Pakistanis in India and also forced cancellation of talks to resume Pakistan-India cricket ties.
At least four Indian Muslims have been lynched in the past six weeks by Hindu extremists on suspicions of slaughtering, stealing or smuggling cows.
Only last week, the Foreign Office had appealed to the world powers to take note of the ‘terrorist activities’ of Shiv Sena and urge New Delhi to stop crimes against Muslims.
“India’s true face stands exposed before the International community after the recent acts of violence against minorities, especially Muslims,” the interior minister replied to a question.
He said during the prime minister's recent visit to Washington, Pakistan had complained to the US leadership about its double standards.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2015.
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