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ISLAMABAD: Making it clear that Pakistan cannot allow anybody to label its innocent citizens as terrorists, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced on Friday suspension of an agreement on readmission of illegal immigrants with the European Union.

The agreement, reached in 2010, was meant to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, rapid and effective procedures for identification and orderly return of people illegally staying in a country back to the country they are from.

“We will not allow any plane carrying deportees (under the agreement) unless we verify their nationality status and get details about the charge and evidence against them,” he told reporters.

Without naming any country, he said two powerful European countries were sending Pakistanis back on “baseless terrorism charges”.

Chaudhry Nisar said that no information was provided, even after a request, to justify the basis of allegations against persons who were found to be innocent during investigation in Pakistan.

‘Two European countries sending Pakistanis back on baseless terrorism charges’

One of them was accused of having been involved in the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar and another of planning to attack a US consulate in a European country. The allegations were found to be baseless, he added.

“Those who give lectures on fundamental rights to us should also respect fundamental rights of Pakistanis,” he said, adding that the mindset was that anybody having an Islamic name or sporting beard, or a woman wearing veil was a potential terrorist. “This one-way traffic should stop now.”

The minister said he would raise the issue in the cabinet and seek directives for Pakistani missions abroad to provide legal assistance to its nationals facing baseless charges there.

He said that since Britain was following the agreement in letter and spirit, the accord with it would remain intact.

The EU office in Islamabad said it was unaware of the development.

HR VIOLATIONS IN INDIA: In reply to a question about human rights violations against minorities, especially Muslims, in India, Chaudhry Nisar said the silence of the international community was a matter of concern.

He said that at the next cabinet meeting he would urge the government to raise the matter at international forums and expose the real face of India before the world.

In reply to another question, he said that an “effective operation” against facilitators of terrorists would be launched in Karachi. “These facilitators stand identified to a large extent.”

SACKING: Chaudhry Nisar said that 200 employees of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) had been sacked for issuing computerised national identity cards (CNICs) to aliens and legal action was being taken against them.

About 85,000 CNICs have been blocked.

He said he would not tolerate corruption in his ministry and pointed out that four ministry officials had been arrested on corruption charges. One of them has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, another is facing trial and two are on bail.

Chaudhry Nisar welcomed the recent visit and address to the Senate by the Chief Justice of Pakistan and said the CJP had honoured parliament. “The move will bring about a positive political change and stability in the country.”

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2015

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