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Alarm bells ringing as Pakistani Christian asylum seekers face likely deportation


Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fearful of likely deportation, as two families of Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in Sri Lanka have been expelled. These two families were apprehended by the immigration officers and later faced deportation and were sent back to Pakistan.

Pakistani Christians stranded in Sri Lanka

In line with an estimate there are about three thousand Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in Sri Lanka. These Pakistani Christians had fled amidst precarious persecution. Nonetheless, their arrival destination did not offer them safe a haven either and faced strict immigration rules that now threaten their security still further.

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One of the Pakistani Christian who had fled his homeland while recalling his experience said: “It happened right in front of me. They killed my pastor.” He has been an eye witness to a pastor’s killing at the hands of an enraged mob. The very next day, his name was announced in the local mosque as a traitor. He was fearful for his life and went in hiding; later in 2013 he arrived in Sri Lanka where he now lives in pursuit of asylum.

The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom in its annual report stated: “In 2015, the Pakistani government continued to perpetrate and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations. Religiously-discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation, such as the country’s blasphemy law and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, intrinsically violate international standards of freedom of religion or belief and result in prosecutions and imprisonments.”

“Pakistan’s religious freedom environment has long been marred by religiously-discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation, including its blasphemy laws. For years, the Pakistani government has failed to protect citizens, minority and majority alike, from sectarian and religiously-motivated violence. Pakistani authorities also have failed to consistently bring perpetrators to justice or take action against societal actors who incite violence.”