WEB DESK: Having received some three quarters of a million migrants from Syria and Iraq this year, Europe seems to have run out of space which it plans to take back from the uninvited foreign guests from Pakistan. Pakistan being a stable, functioning democracy its illegal migrants don’t qualify for “political refuge”. So their en masse deportation is in order.
In fact, it is already in process; some 51,000 of them were ordered to be deported, and nearly half of them are back home. To the extent that the EU member countries have the right to refuse asylum there is no beef with the Pakistani authorities. Pakistan is against illegal migration and has of late aggressively moved against human smugglers. But these deportations have to be in within the scope of the 2009 agreement under which Pakistan can refuse readmission of a deportee from an EU country if he was denied opportunity to defend his case.
How many of the deported were given that opportunity, there is no statistics but the impression is that whole lot of them. But then there was this forced repatriation from Italy of a Pakistani alleged to have been part of the terrorist attack on the Peshawar Army Public School last year. Given the fact that he had nothing to do with that incident and his deportation was in violation of the agreement on readmission of illegal immigrants the Pakistani authorities were duly incensed.
“The readmission agreements with EU governments have been frozen,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali said, warning the airlines against fetching in such deportees without his ministry’s permission. That being the backdrop, EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos was here recently to win back Pakistan’s support for the agreement. To this the host authorities would have no objection provided the agreement is implemented in letter and in spirit. Both sides have decided to evolve a consensus standard operating procedure (SOP), which has to be followed before deporting an illegal migrant from Pakistan.
It would be grossly unjust on one’s part not to share EU’s predicament to deal with a huge influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. By opening wide their doors on the hapless refugees produced by conflicts in a number of Muslim countries the EU governments have won many a heart in the Islamic world. But how will they go about replacing one set of refugees, say from Pakistan, by another set of refugees, this is indeed a huge challenge. Pakistan will take back only those whose links with terrorism are proved beyond any doubt, and those are going to very, very few.
The rest of the whole lot is economic migrants, who entered Europe on forged documents or they were smuggled in by human traffickers. Restarting their lives back home is going to be hard for them and their families. And as for the repatriation of terrorists they are anxiously awaited by the security agencies. Their presence in Europe and elsewhere is an ignominious albatross Pakistanis at home and abroad would like to take off their necks. It is indeed heartening to learn from Commissioner Avramopoulos that his visit was not connected to the aftermath of the Paris massacre.
“Almost all of those who perpetrated the Paris terrorist acts were home-grown. They were born and brought up within Europe,” he told journalists in Islamabad. He is spot on saying nobody should be allowed to spread “generalised Islam-phobia in our societies as Islam has contributed a lot for human civilisation,” and “any act of insane or criminal cannot be attributed to Islam.
” It is our hope that the proposed SOP would take due care to ensure that the fundamental human rights of Pakistanis, who are in EU countries on tainted documentation, are not violated.