ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday instructed its diplomatic missions in European capitals to demand evidence of a potential crime when host countries sought to deport illegal immigrants being held on terror charges to Pakistan.
The move came days after Islamabad said it had suspended its agreement on the readmission of illegal immigrants with European Union countries, except Britain, because of its “blatant misuse”.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed Pakistani diplomatic missions in Europe to demand proof from host governments that wanted to deport Pakistanis on terror charges, a statement said.
“It is a violation of human rights if any Pakistani is deported on terror charges without any proof,” he said, according to the statement.
“We have to not only give courage to Pakistani expatriates, but also stand by them at every step."
Nisar also warned that airlines who carried deportees back to Pakistan without the interior ministry's permission or without travel documents would have to pay unspecified fines.
The 2010 agreement that Pakistan said it had suspended aimed to facilitate the return of Pakistani illegal immigrants and other nationals who had transited through Pakistan before arriving in the EU.
The federal interior minister said on November 6 that Pakistan has suspended readmission agreements with western countries, except the United Kingdom.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, the minister had claimed that most countries have been deporting illegal Pakistani citizens "without verification", whereas under readmission agreements Pakistanis travelling illegally to any western country have to be deported after proper verification.
Nisar also shed some light on another "dangerous trend" that had emerged over the last several months, under which Pakistanis travelling abroad without documents are deported on charges of terrorism without proper verification.
He added that at least 90,000 people were sent back to Pakistan during the last year.
Even their nationalities are not being verified to ascertain whether or not they are actually Pakistanis, said the interior minister.