New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre not to deport 65 Pakistani nationals,
arrested for staying in India without valid documents, till
its further order on a plea to hand them over to the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which is yet to
grant them refugee status.
In an interim order, Justice Hima Kohli asked the
Union Home Ministry not to take a decision to deport them to
Pakistan till April 28, the next date of hearing on the plea
filed by Pakistani nationals Saifullah Bajwa and others
seeking an order to the government to relase them on bail and
hand them over to UNHCR.
Justice Kohli issued the notices to the Centre, Delhi
government and UNHCR and sought their replies by April 28.
Earlier, a division bench had directed the Centre not
deport the Pakistanis till March 2011 on the ground that the
UNHCR has completed their interviews and a final report about
their refugee status is yet to come. However, the court had
made it clear that no further extension would be granted to
While disposing a PIL on December 2 last year, the
bench had directed the petitioners to approach the UNHCR,
following which they had approached the UNHCR and it is yet to
grant them the refugee status.
The Pakistani nationals belonging to Gowhar Shahi sect,
banned by Pakistan government, have been under detention in
Tihar Jail since April 23, 2007, after they staged a
demonstration demanding asylum in India on the ground that
their life was at risk in Pakistan.
Refusing to return to their homeland, they had during
their protests burnt the Pakistani flag, their passports and
visa papers. They were subsequently arrested for having no
travel documents and, therefore, being in India illegally.
Meanwhile, the Centre had taken a decision to deport them
as they have been staying here without any valid documents.