UK to deport thousands if Pakistan abolishes death penalty
09 July, 2012
LONDON: The British government could deport tens of thousands of undesirable Pakistani migrants if death penalty is abolished in Pakistan, our sources has learnt.
In an alleged secret deal, Britain has offered to revive British nationality of the interior minister and other dual national Pakistani parliamentarians in return for implementation of their long-standing demand of repealing the death penalty.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik's statement that abolition of death penalty is under consideration does not seem to be motivated by any genuine concern towards those facing death sentence, but a direct consequence of the British government's alleged offer and purely for self-interest with sole aim to benefit a foreign government at the cost of Pakistani interests.
The British demand also reeks of self-interest and does not seem to have the humanitarian consideration behind it as the sole purpose seems to be repatriation of illegal immigrants without regard for their human rights. It is the European Union law that no country within the union will extradite a person to any country where the death penalty is valid and the deportee could face it. This law has been causing a lot of problem for Britain vis-à-vis the United States where a way has not yet been found by both countries. However, in the case of Pakistan, Britain seems to have found an easy way to bypass this EU law by asking Pakistan to repeal death penalty, which it cannot demand from the United States.
Shedding some light on the background of proposed abolition of death penalty and the illegal migrants issue may provide interconnectivity to, apparently, the three isolated news reports published in the Pakistani media about deportation of illegal migrants, abolition of death penalty and revival of British citizenship.
The elaboration of the references to the context would enable the readers to see the relevance. Abolition of death penalty is Britain's long-standing demand with Pakistan, initially in the context of the extradition treaty that two countries intended to conclude but death penalty was a major stumbling block. But since 2009, the importance of abolition of death penalty from the PPC gained greater significance when the issue of deportation of terror suspects from the UK to Pakistan emerged in the wake of the arrest of 10 Pakistani students in the UK. The British authorities were unable to bring about any concrete evidence that could stand the trial in the court of law. However, the police and counter-terrorism officials had concluded that keeping the students was a threat to Britain's national security.
The then Labour government strived hard to conclude an agreement with Pakistan, called Deportation with Assurances (DWA), but to some sincere government officials in Pakistan and at the high commission in London who stood in the way. According to the official sources in the ministries of foreign affairs and interior in Pakistan, the terms of DWA would not allow those considered security threat to the UK for possible links to terrorism to be tried or investigated in Pakistan.
It may be important to mention that there is death penalty for those proven guilty of terrorism. In view of Pakistan's reluctance to sign DWA, the British authorities agreed to a quid pro quo arrangement with the students allegedly involved in terrorism and prepared ground for their return to Pakistan. Ever since, the UK persuaded Pakistan to agree to DWA in one form or the other, though the students' episode was over. The times ahead were to reveal why the British thought that such an agreement would be necessary.
The British government had taken measures during the Labour government that nationality of a Briton of some other origin could be renounced, if found involved in terrorism charges, and deported. All such deportees would face the risk of death penalty in Pakistan. Britain wants to play safe by avoiding criticism on account of human rights violation by ensuring that terror suspects are not subjected to any investigation and death penalty.
The issue of illegal migrants from Pakistan had led to the signing of an agreement called MOU on managed migration between the two countries, which was renewed in 2010 for five years amidst a lot of toing and froing and clamouring on foul play. The MOU should have been seen as redundant once the Lisbon Treaty came into effect in 2010 and shortly after ratification of agreement between Pakistan and the EU for repatriation of illegal migrants from across the EU member states. But Britain wanted to avail both to be able to deport unlimited number of Pakistanis. According to sources, this aspect remains unsettled as saner elements in Pakistan are reluctant to give Britain a free hand. Britain's frustration with Pakistan to avoid signing DWA-type agreements may facilitate repatriation of even suspected terrorists under the arrangement without notice.
Independent Chief Inspector for Immigration John Vine's report revealed that tens of thousands of Pakistanis were among the missing illegal migrants. The MOU has an upper limit on the number of people who could be deported. If UK could avail both the agreements then the issue of the cap would be resolved. Reportedly, Rehman Malik's cooperation is exemplary. He generously allows mass deportations using High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan, another, reportedly, loyal dual national, as a conduit.
The axe of constitutional provision that prohibits dual nationals from holding a public office recently fell on Malik and stripped him off of his Senate seat and ministerial portfolio. This is an open secret that he has more financial interests in the UK than in Pakistan. His hope to revive his British nationality, which he surrendered to escape the Supreme Court's wrath, has been rekindled with Pakistani parliament's recent move to give relief to dual nationals in the National Assembly.