30 deportees from Greece sent back after being held at Islamabad airport
ISLAMABAD: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday detained 49 deportees aboard a chartered flight from Greece at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on orders of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar.
The interior ministry, in a statement, said the deportees were sent to Pakistan 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 Dawn.com that only 19 people on the plane had been verified on the basis of their documentation. The remaining 30 on board the flight were sent back, he added.
In a statement released earlier in the day, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said: "No unregistered deportee will be allowed to come to Pakistan and if that happens they will be sent back."
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, he added.
"Some countries are not doing enough to stop this unethical, inhumane and illegal process of deporting individuals," said the minister.
In a statement earlier last month, 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.
Read: Pakistan suspends readmission agreements with western countries.
According to Sputnik News, Pakistani citizens are among the largest migrant groups to arrive in the bloc.
Of the 90,000 people sent back to Pakistan this year, many were deported on charges of terrorism without proper verification, alleged Nisar. Even their nationalities were not verified to ascertain whether or not they were actually Pakistanis, said the interior minister.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner Migration of the EU, visited Pakistan and met with Nisar to discuss Pakistan’s concerns of the Pak-EU readmission agreement on migrants. He 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 (landing of) any plane carrying deportees (under the agreement) unless we verify their nationality and get details about the charge 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 mindset of treating anyone with an Islamic name or sporting beard or a woman wearing a veil as a potential terrorist.
“This one-way traffic should stop now.”
Chaudhry Nisar had said that Pakistan could not allow any country to label its innocent citizens as terrorists.
Also read: Pakistan demands 'proof' of terror charges for deportees.