The Pakistan government has refused to accept a specially chartered plane of rejected migrants sent from Europe, turning it round and sending it right back again.
Remarkably the Pakistani government seemed to be capable and willing of doing what Europe by and large is not — securing their borders against undesirables. Pakistani Interior Ministry Sarfraz Hussain said no entry to Pakistan would be granted without proper documentation — which the migrants lacked.
The small planeload (pictured above) of rejected asylum seekers contained 50 deportees rejected by the government of Greece, reports The Guardian. Pakistan accepted 19 of the passengers they deemed acceptable for return, but kept the remaining 31 “unverified deportees” on-board while the plane was refuelled and sent home.
The move follows an accusation by the Pakistan government last month that European states were deporting unwanted migrants to Pakistan without actually checking they were Pakistani citizens. Pakistani Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan said the country would be suspending a repatriation deal after the abuses. “Despite having settled all issues with the European Commissioner, Pakistani laws have been violated, which absolutely cannot be allowed”, he said.
Last year, about 21,000 Pakistanis who were in Europe without permission were ordered to return home. An estimated 50,000 Pakistanis travel legally to Europe for work each year, many of which go to the United Kingdom.
Greece has been under pressure from EU partners to directly deport migrants arriving from Turkey instead of allowing them to go elsewhere in Europe.
He told parliament Greece had a few weeks ago tried to send 62 illegal migrants back to Pakistan, but that these had been rejected.
Clashes erupted on the Greek-Macedonian border on Tuesday when Macedonian police fired tear gas to repel hundreds of mostly Pakistani migrants trying to push through a new border fence.
Some of them later blocked the crossing for Syrians and others who would have been let in as war refugees. “If we don’t cross, no one does!” they chanted.
Pakistan turning back their own migrants to Europe again is yet another example of the difficulties associated with Europe attempting to refuse entry to refugees. Breitbart London reported this week on a group of migrants trapped in limbo on the Norway-Russia border, after both nations refused to admit them.
The group had travelled from the Middle East through Russia, passing Moscow and Murmansk to access Europe through the Arctic circle, but when they arrived they found the Norwegian border closed. Escorted back to Russia by Norwegian police, they were then sent back again by Russian border officers who were under orders to not readmit them. Some 4,000 migrants have crossed the border already this year.
Reuters contributed to this report.