Delhi HC seeks response from Centre on Pakistan nationals` plea
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 00:00
New Delhi, Dec 17: Sixty seven Pakistani nationals facing deportation have moved the Delhi High Court with a plea to refer their matter to the United National High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as they do not want to go back to their country.

The court has now sought a response from the Centre as it has decided to deport the Pakistani nationals arrested by the Indian authorities on various charges, including alleged stay in the country without valid passport or documents.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar sought the centre's response on a PIL filed by Saifullah Bajwa through counsel Meenakshi Arora claiming that all the petitioners were facing charges of blasphemy and the Pakistani law prescribed life sentence or death penalty for the charge.

Following Centre's submission that there is no law in India to provide shelter to such people who do not have any valid document, the petitioners' counsel said UNHCR would send them to either the United Kingdom or the Netherlands.

Last month, the government has sought a city court's permission to withdraw all the cases lodged against these Pakistanis. However, challenging the government's decision the Pakistani nationals filed a petition seeking court's intervention restraining the government from deporting them.

In April last year, these people had fled Pakistan due to fear of prosecution on the charges of blasphemy as they belonged to the Mehdi Foundation, a multi-faith spiritual organisation that has been promoting the doctrine of divine love since 1980.

The organisation is headed by Ra Riaz Gohar Shahi, who had fled Pakistan and is presently based in United Kingdom (UK) after Sindh High Court sentenced him to life imprisonment on charges of blasphemy.

After coming to India, the petitioners had staged a protest here at Jantar Mantar against Pakistani government and burnt their passports besides burning the effigies of their leaders. The Delhi police had arrested them on April 23 2007 for not having valid documents to stay here.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 00:00

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