Central government questioned over deportation of Pakistanis

December 17th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday again questioned the central government over the deportation of over 60 Pakistani nationals. The issue was also referred to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as the Pakistanis do not want to go back to their country.The central government has decided to deport the Pakistani nationals arrested on various charges, including their alleged stay in the country without valid passport or documents.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar sought the central government’s response on a petition filed by Saifullah Bajwa. He claimed that all petitioners were facing charges of blasphemy and the Pakistani law prescribed life sentence or death penalty for the charge.

Following the government’s submission that there was no law in India to provide shelter to such people who do not have any valid documents, the petitioners’ counsel said the UNHCR would send them to either Britain or the Netherlands.

Last month, the government sought a city court’s permission to withdraw all the cases filed against these Pakistanis. However, challenging the government’s decision, the Pakistani nationals filed a petition seeking the court’s intervention restraining the government from deporting them.

In April last year, these people fled Pakistan due to fear of prosecution on the charges of blasphemy as they belonged to the Mehdi Foundation, a multi-faith spiritual organisation that has been promoting the doctrine of divine love since 1980.

After coming to India, the petitioners staged a protest here at Jantar Mantar against the Pakistani government and burnt their passports besides burning the effigies of their leaders.

The Delhi police had arrested them April 23, 2007, for not having valid documents to stay here.

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