Friday, December 04, 2015

Pakistan Sends 30 Migrants Back to Europe

By SALMAN MASOOD and NIKI KITSANTONIS, NYT, DEC. 3, 2015

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan sent 30 migrants back to three European countries on Thursday after refusing to allow them to disembark from a chartered plane at an airport in Islamabad, officials said, a move that reflected growing frustration over the treatment of asylum seekers.

Sarfraz Hussain, a spokesman for the Pakistani Interior Ministry, described the migrants as “unverified deportees,” most of whom were sent back from Greece, saying the authorities would not permit anyone to enter the country without proper documentation.

A Greek police official, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, said all 49 passengers on the plane were Pakistani citizens. “They had Pakistani Embassy documents,” he said. “Why would Pakistani Embassy staff give documents to people who are not from Pakistan?”

The Pakistani interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said last month that European countries were sending people back to Pakistan without identifying their nationality. But the episode Thursday was the first time that the country had refused to admit deportees.

In a statement, the European Union said on Thursday that Pakistan was requiring identification information about the deportees above and beyond what was called for in a readmission agreement reached in 2010, and that the case illustrated the need to improve the accord.

(More here)

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