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ISLAMABAD, May 4: The Pakistani embassy in Argentina has unearthed a plan allegedly prepared by the United States and some other countries to arrest Pakistani immigrants and transfer them to the US.

Acting on media reports that the US had taken into custody in Ecuador more than 66 alleged illegal immigrants, including Pakistanis, the embassy sent its vice-consul to Quito.

In a report submitted to the government, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Argentina Naila Chohan said: It seemed to be an effort to malign Pakistanis, since no reference had been made to other nationals although many of them belonged to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Iraq.

According to the investigation carried out by the vice-consul, the arrested Pakistanis were legal settlers living in Ecuador for decades.

Some of them were married to Ecuador nationals while the remaining were asylum-seekers who could not be deported “until Ecuadorian courts take a decision on their status”.

The investigation found that the arrested Pakistanis were maltreated, beaten and forced to sign some documents, agreeing to “voluntarily return” to their country.

“Their homes were broken into and they were abused, in violation of their human rights.”

The Ecuador authorities have denied their involvement and apologised for the operation.

The Pakistani ambassador said the matter had already been brought to the notice of the government which would raise the issue with the US.

The Pakistani authorities have expressed concern that why they were not taken into confidence prior to the operation.

Some of the Pakistanis were planning to take the issue to the International Court of Justice.

In her report, the Pakistani ambassador has referred to a meeting with US Ambassador to Argentina and Special Agent of the Homeland at which she raised the issue of 32 Pakistanis detained during a joint operation conducted by the US government and Ecuador.

The US side expressed ignorance about the matter and assured her to provide detailed information on the issue.The Pakistani ambassador was later informed that 66 illegal aliens of Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Iraqi origin were captured. Of them 32 were Pakistanis who were arrested for their involvement in “alien smuggling”.

Of the 32 Pakistanis, five have already been deported to Pakistan while the remaining 27 are awaiting repatriation.