Thai authorities to deport 70 Pakistani asylum seekers

Pakistani refugees exit a police truck as they arrive at the Immigration Detention Center, on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Tassanee Vejpongsa)
Updated 11 October 2018
0

Thai authorities to deport 70 Pakistani asylum seekers

  • Separately on Thursday, immigration police said they charged 24 foreigners with overstaying their visas
  • Thailand regularly deports foreigners who are in the country illegally

BANGKOK: Thai authorities on Thursday convicted 70 Pakistani asylum seekers of staying illegally in Thailand despite their protestations that they face persecution if they are sent home, as police intensify a crackdown on illegal immigration.
The Taling Chan Provincial Court issued fines and up to two-month suspended jail sentences to the group, which was charged with overstaying their visas and illegal entry. An officer in charge of the case, who declined to be named because of office policy, said they will be held in a detention center until they are deported.
The group was accompanied by 11 children who will also be held in the detention center.
One of the defendants, Emmanuel Shan, said the group consists mostly of Christian Pakistanis and some Ahmadi Muslims, and that members of the two religious groups face persecution in Pakistan.
"I'm Christian and my life and family are not safe back in Pakistan," he said.
In 1984, predominately Muslim Pakistan enacted amendments to its constitution which punish Ahmadis who call themselves Muslims "or pose to be Muslims" with up to three years in prison.
Police said 52 of the defendants were arrested Tuesday after they were found to have formed a group that smuggled Pakistani asylum seekers into Thailand with the goal of reaching other countries.
Thailand regularly deports foreigners who are in the country illegally, even if they are recognized by the United Nations as refugees who are fleeing persecution.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said Thailand is not part of the United Nation's 1951 Refugee Convention and authorities have to act on violations of the law. She said the government deals with migrants with U.N. refugee status on a case-by-case basis.
Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, said those who have refugee status or whose cases are being processed should not be detained.
"This is a rights-abusing populist policy that denigrates Thailand and makes Thailand look cruel," Robertson said.
On Monday, Thai authorities announced they would step up efforts to arrest foreigners without appropriate legal status.
Lt. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered a one-month campaign to crack down on foreigners overstaying their visas.
Police Lt. Gen. Suttipong Wongpin, acting commissioner of the immigration bureau, said last week that the government had instructed police to strictly enforce the law on foreigners who violate immigration law.
Separately on Thursday, immigration police said they charged 24 foreigners with overstaying their visas and 11 others with illegal entry.


Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

Updated 17 June 2019
0

Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

  • The Crown Prince’s recent statement reflects his wisdom and restraint, says Senator Sehar Kamran
  • International community must act to defuse situation in the Middle East, maintains senior analyst Zahid Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s major political parties and analysts on Monday appreciated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statement that the Kingdom did not want a war in the Middle East.
In an interview last week, the Crown Prince also called for a decisive international position against Iran.
“At this very critical moment, the demonstration of restraint by the Saudi Crown Prince is very much appreciated. This shows his wisdom and rationale,” Senator Sehar Kamran of the Pakistan Peoples Party told Arab News, adding: “I believe the entire world will applaud the statement. We must give peace a chance and support efforts for political solution to all outstanding issues.”
“The international community can play an important role in reminding Iran of the consequences [of war] and help initiate a dialogues process to prevent further escalation of tensions in the region,” she continued.
Kamran said the recent attack on a Saudi oil tanker was a serious issue and must be strongly condemned.
“Every nation has the right to protect its sovereignty and national assets,” she noted. “Iran must act as a responsible state. A transparent investigation of the attack by the United Nations and collective wisdom on the issue will be the best option.”
Echoing her sentiment, Romina Khurshid Alam of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party also welcomed the Crown Prince’s statement.

“Our party leadership has always advocated for peace in the region and supports Pakistan’s role as a mediator to resolve all outstanding issues,” she said.
Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the central information secretary of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Arab News that “the PTI strongly condemns attacks on Saudi facilities by Houthis.”
He recalled that the Pakistani leadership had expressed its desire to play a mediator’s role for peace and stability in the Middle East.
Last week, Cheema told Arab News that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict. “This is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through negotiations,” he added.
“Peace is essential for the development of countries in the Middle East,” former Pakistani ambassador Rizwan-ul-Haq told Arab News. “Any country which upsets the tranquility and peace of the region must be invited to explain its position to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and asked to change its stance in a unanimous and decisive way.”
“We should sit together with transgressors and find a diplomatic solution before resorting to extreme measures,” he added.
Veteran Pakistani political commentator Zahid Hussain said that “the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and oil facilities in the Kingdom have created a serious security situation in the Middle East and there is an urgent need for the international community to act and defuse the situation.”
“The Crown Prince is right that war is not an option,” he added.