Pakistan suspends readmission treaties with western countries

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday said Pakistan has suspended readmission agreements with western countries, except the United Kingdom, because of ‘blatant misuse’.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Friday, the minister claimed 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.

He added that at least 90,000 people were sent back to Pakistan during the last year. Nisar also shed 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. Even their nationalities are not being verified to ascertain whether or not they are actually Pakistanis, said the interior minister.

The interior minister said that Pakistan would not tolerate its nationals being treated as animals in Europe or elsewhere. “No plane would be allowed to land in Pakistani soil until proper verification is done on their part and that countries share all the information with Pakistani authorities concerned,” he said.

The agreement, concluded between the EU and Pakistan, lays down the principle of systematic return of Pakistani nationals residing without authorisation in a member State and vice versa. It also organizes, under certain conditions, the return of third country nationals and stateless persons. Denmark and Ireland are not parties to the agreement. Earlier, it was reported by Russian news agency Sputnik that Pakistan had expressed readiness to accept its citizens who illegally arrived in the European Union (EU).

After a meeting with the Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that they already had bilateral agreements between EU and Pakistan for return and readmission.

The EU has been struggling with a massive influx of over 710,000 migrants since the beginning of 2015 as hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict-stricken regions are seeking asylum in the bloc.

European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos had said on Wednesday that he was set to visit Pakistan soon to discuss plans to send back Pakistani migrants who had made their way to Europe.

Responding to a question, the interior minister said India’s ‘true face stands exposed before the international community’ because of recent acts of violence against minorities, especially Muslims.

“I have serious concerns that international community is still silent on this violent attitude and human right violation committed by India as people are being burnt alive there,” he said. It was an ultimate extremism on part of India and should be a cause of concern for the world, he added.

Nisar said during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit, it was conveyed to the US leadership that there were double standards in regards to their policy on India and Pakistan.

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