New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday agreed to
allow 65 Pakistani nationals, who are lodged in Tihar Jail
here for not having valid travel documents, to stay in the
country for another three months.
Centre`s counsel submitted before Justice Mukta Gupta
of the Delhi High Court that the Ministry of Home Affairs has
received a letter from United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) granting these Pakistanis refugee status.
Justice Gupta accepted the Centre`s submission and
fixed the matter for May 6 for further hearing.
Appearing for the Pakistanis, counsel Meenakshi Arora
submitted that as per the UNHCR letter granting refugee status
to these people, they are required to be released from the
jail forthwith and the Government should take steps
The counsel also submitted that UNHCR has given an
assurance to look for another country where these people could
The court was hearing a plea filed by Pakistani
nationals Saifullah Bajwa and others seeking a directive to
the government not to deport them but to hand them over to
UNHCR which was considering their plea for refugee status.
The high court had earlier directed the Centre not to
take any action against these Pakistanis till UNHCR takes a
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 staying in India illegally.