Pakistan, Bosnia sign accord for illegal migrants’ return

Published November 5, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Chairman of the Tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic in Islamabad on Nov 4. — PID
Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Chairman of the Tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic in Islamabad on Nov 4. — PID

• Imran, Dzaferovic discuss trade, growing Islamophobia
• MoU on scientific, technological cooperation inked

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday signed a bilateral readmission agreement paving the way for repatriation of nearly 3,000 illegal Pakistani migrants.

The agreement was signed during a two-day visit of the Chairman of the Tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic. The Bosnian leader is accompanied by a high-level delegation including the minister for security and presidential advisers.

The agreement was signed after talks between the two countries.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been facing a migrant crisis because it has over the years become an important route for illegal migration. Its officials claim that nearly 23 per cent of the illegal migrants are from Pakistan. Their numbers are estimated to be around 3,000.

The issue of illegal migrants earlier in April this year became contentious between the two countries as Bosnia and Herzegovina pushed to deport illegal migrants.

The agreement proposed by Bosnia and Herzegovina was negotiated by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ministry of Security. It provides the legal basis for repatriation of illegal migrants from Pakistan, who would be returned to their homeland through the readmission process and Pakistani authorities would be obliged to accept them.

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on scientific and technological cooperation.

During their talks, both sides agreed on deepening their cooperation in the economic, trade and investment, science and technology, defence industry, educational and cultural sectors.

Speaking after their talks, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chairman of the Tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic said their discussions focused on bilateral trade and cooperation. Moreover, growing incidents of Islamophobia in Europe were also discussed.

Mr Khan regretted that bilateral trade was mere 4.5 million euros. “We discussed expansion of trade and we will continue to have meetings to improve our trade and cooperation in various fields,” he said.

Mr Dzaferovic will meet representatives of Pakistan businessmen during the visit.

The prime minister said that the issue of publication of blasphemous caricatures in France was also discussed. He emphasised that “no one has the right to hurt feelings of millions of Muslims in the name of freedom of expression”.

Mr Khan further underscored the need for concerted efforts to promote inter-faith harmony.

He also briefed the Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders about human rights violations by India in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the threat posed by Indian actions to peace and security in the region.

Mr Dzaferovic stressed the need for respect for human rights and resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

PM Khan also offered assistance to contain Covid-19 pandemic.

It was also agreed to maintain frequent bilateral exchanges at the highest level.

Mr Dzaferovic invited Mr Khan to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina which the latter accepted, saying he looked forward to visiting BH at an early date.

APP adds: Pakistan also offered Bosnia & Herzegovina training courses for its young diplomats at the Foreign Service Academy, Islamabad.

The offer came as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia & Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic here.

The foreign minister expressed confidence that the cooperation at diplomatic level could strengthen relations between the two countries.

The Foreign Service Academy, the training arm of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provides training to diplomats from friendly countries along with its own career diplomats.

The meeting also agreed that a vast potential existed to enhance cooperation, especially in fields of trade and investment, energy, science and technology, defence industry, education, and people-to-people exchanges.

The foreign minister expressed condolences on the loss of precious lives in Bosnia & Herzegovina due to Covid-19.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2020

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