- Posted July 23, 2014 by
Behind the crackdown on Pakistani asylum seekers in Sri Lanka
Pak Sri Lanka friendship is strong and remains unchanged. It was Pakistan which helped Sri Lanka to win their war against separatist Tamil tigers. Pakistan also supported Mahinda Rajapaksa Government in Geneva and voted against the resolution to make an international inquiry in to the war crimes committed by Sri Lankan army.
Pakistan has failed to protect its citizens especially minorities from religious extremists. Pakistan ranks no 2 in top dangerous Countries for journalists and women. Pakistan also tops the list of the countries where more people are killed in bomb explosions.
Terrorists & religious extremists operate with impunity in Pakistan. They target moderate Muslims, minority sects like Ahamadies and Christians whenever and however they want. There are scores of Pakistani who flee Pakistan and take refuge in nearby countries, Sri Lanka is one.
Recently newly elected prime minister of India complained to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that his country was being used by Muslim terrorists to lunch attacks in India.
In Tamil Nadu a Sri Lankan alleged terrorist was arrested who was linked with other terrorists arrested in Malaysia. During their interrogation they confessed that they were planning an attack on US and Israeli embassy in India. According to the information provided by them they were hired and being handled by an ISI official named Amir Zubair Sidiqi in Pakistan High commission in Sri Lanka.
Instead of questioning Pakistan High commission in Sri Lankan Rajapaksa government chose to attack helpless Pakistani asylum seekers to save their face.
Pakistan does not want its persecuted ones to seek asylum. It wants to carry a good name despite all the negative facts about it.
It was Pakistan which requested friendly Sri Lankan Government to stop on arrival visas for Pakistani nationals So that asylum seeking can come to an end.
Sri Lanka however went one step ahead. It was in June 2014 when Sri Lankan authorities started their crack down on Pakistani asylum seekers. Those arrested are being detained at the Boosa camp. According to the UNHCR, 189 male asylum seekers of Pakistani and Afghan origin are among those detained. They comprise 127 single males and 62 heads of families. These asylum seekers belong to Ahmadiya and Shia community who are being targeted by state sponsored Islamic extremists. Pakistani government takes them for 3rd class citizens and casts a blind eye to their sufferings.
Unaware of international laws for asylum seekers, Pakistan foreign affairs spoke person spoke with much ignorance about them saying. “They seek asylum by bad mouthing Pakistan. If they are in trouble I don’t know”
However Dawn newspaper of Pakistan clearly wrote “failed twice” The summary of the article was a hard fact that Pakistan state has failed to protect its citizens and by disowning the asylum seekers the failure of the state doubles.
Sri Lankan controller General of immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera says, “They (asylum seekers) are dangerous and a financial Burdon on their country.” He forgets that there are thousands of Sri Lankan refugees inside and outside Sri Lanka who are being helped extensively by western countries and UNHCR. How they are dangerous is yet to be explained by him. According to UNHCR they follow rules and regulations of the country and do as they are told by UNHCR.
Once again, On July 19 Sri Lanka violated international laws and the basic principle of refugee protection --- NON REFOULMENT --- meaning A person should not be handed over to the country where he fears persecution. 5 Afghan asylum seekers were deported. Very smartly the Sri Lankan authorities called this forced deportation voluntarily repatriation.
During this so called voluntary repatriation, these fateful asylum seekers were not even allowed to call or meet someone from UNHCR.
Sri Lanka has further made it clear that all the Pakistani and Afghani asylum seekers men women and children will be deported back to their countries
Sadia’s little sister and mother continue to live in hiding in Sri Lanka
It is not the 1st time Sri Lanka has targeted asylum seekers on the behest of Pakistan. In March 2013 Pakistani blogger Sadia Khan an asylum seeker in Sri Lanka was kept in detention for 1 long month. Her mother and 11 years old sister were also jailed.
Their arrest took place when Pakistan ISI contacted friendly Sri Lankan Government to capture her. Her crime was that she wrote about the atrocities of Pakistan security forces.
Sri Lankan authorities were quick to take action.
Their passports were confiscated and the family was detained. They were about to be secretly deported to Pakistan when the helpless female Khans came to know about the conspiracy. Taking a chance they left the detention camp to save their life.
Now this family is recognized refugees from UNHCR. Unfortunately they still live in hiding and fear Sri Lankan authorities. They have repeatedly requested Sri Lankan authorities to return their passports so that they can live freely but to no avail. Sadia Khan also requested Pakistan High commission to intervene and help her. Pak embassy only tried to trace her location the Defence Advisor of Pak embassy Shaheryar Pervaz Butt abused her and called her a traitor.
Pak & Afghan asylum seekers & refugees continue to live in fear and are treated as criminals in Sri Lanka. UNHCR with little authority & high responsibility watches helplessly.