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Bangkok: Pakistani Christian asylum seekers on pins and needles as deportations begin

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Thai authorities have started deporting the visa over stayers majority of whom are Pakistani Christians. As part of stepped up crackdown against illegal migrants, dozens of Pakistani Christians had been arrested recently. British Pakistani Christian Association revealed that some of the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers have managed to escape detention and are in hiding.

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers

BPCA revealed that few despairing Pakistani Christian family that were held in the Immigration Detention Centre have been deported already. More deportations are anticipated in the coming days. Chairman BPCA Mr. Wilson Chowdhry stated: “The primary demographic of Pakistani Christian asylum communities is made up of families, meaning that children and their parents have lost up to 7 years of their lives trying to escape the evil that awaits them In Pakistan.”

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Further explaining that: “Unfortunately, we can only try to track those who have been deported to assess their well-being. Others who have been deported in the past continued to have difficulties upon their return and some have ended up in prison.”

As reported earlier, some of the detainees include those who have been granted refugee status by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Refugee status protects a person from being detained in connection to visa-related matters.

Earlier this month, on October 9, Thai authorities conducted raids and detained about 100 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Bangkok. Pakistani Christians detained by the immigration authorities include women and children also. Police charged these Pakistani Christians of illegal entry and overstay regardless of the fact that they escaped religious persecution in their homeland.

Grappling with fear, the Pakistani Christians who escape detention take refuge in churches or in homes of local people. The recent episode of crackdown has put about 2,500 Pakistani Christian refugees in Bangkok on pins and needles.

The recent raids are result of zero tolerance policy of newly appointed head of Thai Immigration Bureau. Pakistani Christians are not the only ones facing danger of detention but visa over stayers from several other countries from Middle East, Africa and Asia. On October 5, about 369 foreigners were detained on various visa related offences.