Pakistanis denied asylum

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  • Published 27.11.09

New Delhi, Nov. 26: The Pakistanis wanted to make India their home. But India didn’t want them.

They even burnt their passports and landed in jail where they gave the wardens no trouble. But Delhi said nothing doing. They might be “nice people” but were illegal migrants.

On the first anniversary of India’s worst terror attack, a group of 66 Pakistanis lost their battle for permission to stay on in the country.

The Union home ministry today informed Delhi High Court that the group’s plea for political asylum couldn’t be entertained and the process of their deportation had begun.

The group, in Tihar jail for the past two years and facing the charge of staying in India without valid documents, had filed their plea a year ago.

The Centre on its part had moved an application before a city court seeking permission to withdraw all the cases against the Pakistanis under the Passport Act and the Registration of Foreigners Act, in effect clearing the way for their deportation. Today, the government officially made it clear the Pakistanis were being sent back to their homeland — against their will.

The group’s plea to summon the UN Human Rights Commission was also rejected. “Summoning the UNHRC is out of our jurisdiction. If you want to approach the UNHRC, you can do it on your own,” the court told them.

The Pakistanis, all members of the Mehdi Foundation, a multi-faith spiritual organisation that promotes the doctrine of divine love, had fled their country in April 2007 fearing prosecution for blasphemy. In Pakistan, convictions for blasphemy can mean life in jail or even death.

The members had staged a protest at Jantar Mantar and burnt their Pakistani passports. Packed off to Tihar, they applied for asylum saying they belonged to the Gohar Shahi sect, which is closer to Hinduism than Islam.