Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday sent back to Greece 30 deportees, demonstrating its resolve to enforce a newly announced policy not to take in deportees without mandated prior verification of national status.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) detained 49 deportees aboard a chartered flight from Greece at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on the orders of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar.
The interior ministry, in a statement, said the deportees were sent to Islamabad illegally and in violation of Pakistan’s laws.
All 49 individuals including the flight crew were initially not allowed to disembark the plane. Later, 30 individuals were sent back, while 19 individuals were cleared by authorities to stay in Pakistan.
An interior ministry spokesman told journalists only 19 people on the plane had been verified on the basis of their documentation. The remaining 30 were sent back, he added.
“The interior ministry has made it clear that no unregistered deportee will be allowed to come to Pakistan and if that happens they will be sent back,” the spokesman said.
Despite having agreed on all issues in a recent meeting with the EU migration commissioner, one European country is violating Pakistani law, which is unacceptable, the spokesman said.
“Some countries are not doing enough to stop this unethical, inhumane and illegal process of deporting individuals,” the statement quoted the interior minister a saying.
In November, Nisar said Pakistan has suspended readmission agreements with western countries because of “blatant misuse”. This applied to all countries except for the United Kingdom.
Nisar had said Pakistan could not allow any country to label its innocent citizens as terrorists and announced that the readmission agreement signed with the EU in 2010 had been suspended.
Of the 90,000 people sent back to Pakistan this year, many were deported on charges of terrorism without proper verification, Nisar said.
Even their nationalities were not verified to ascertain whether they were actually Pakistanis, said the interior minister.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner Migration of the EU, visited Pakistan last month and met Nisar to discuss Pakistan’s concerns.
After the talks, the commissioner assured the minister that deportees from Europe would now be sent to Pakistan under a clearly defined standard operating procedure.
The readmission agreement was meant to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, rapid and effective procedures for identifying and deporting people staying illegally in a country.
“We will not allow any plane carrying deportees to land unless we verify their nationality and get details about the charges and evidence against them,” the minister had said.
“Those who give lectures on fundamental human rights to us should also respect rights of Pakistanis,” he said.
He deplored the mind set of treating anyone with a Muslim name or sporting a beard, or a woman wearing a veil, as a potential terrorist.
“This one-way traffic should stop now,” the minister had stated, stressing that Pakistan could not allow any country to label its innocent citizens as terrorists.
He had underlined that overseas Pakistanis were a valuable asset of the country.
The minister had stated that to curb illegal migration from Pakistan the government had launched a crackdown on those individual involved in this despicable practice.
According to authorities many alleged human traffickers have been target in the ongoing dragnet.