Christian MNA Asiya Nasir raises the issue of stranded Pakistani Christians in Thailand in the National Assembly

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MNA Asiya Nasir

Pakistani Christian member of National Assembly Asiya Nasir has raised the issue of the stranded Pakistani Christians in Thailand, who are in despicable conditions.

News is, that during a recent meeting of the National Assembly MNA Asiya Nasir- who belongs to the one of Pakistan’s prominent political parties Jamiat Ullema-e-Islam (F) JUF; has highlighted the issue of stranded Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in Thailand. The JUF MNA also shed light on the issue of Pakistanis seeking asylum abroad and questioned government’s actions for their relief.

While addressing the National Assembly, MNA Asiya Nasir said: “I would like to invite the attention of the Minister for Interior and Narcotics control to a matter of urgent public importance regarding illegal migration of Pakistanis to Thailand and Sri Lanka; resulting in their detention over there, causing grave concerns to the public.”

To her question, the State Minister of Interior and Narcotics Control- Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman replied that the deportees who approach the Ministry of Interior assesses what is going on. He said that the Foreign Office deals directly with those Pakistanis who had been detained abroad on charges of any crime or other cause.

He said that in 2014, 378 Pakistanis were deported from Thailand, while in 2015, 382 Pakistanis were deported. He said that 136 Pakistanis were deported from Sri Lanka in 2014, while in 2015; 116 Pakistanis were deported.

He said that there are several causes due to which Pakistanis have been deported. This may include, overstay (staying after the visa expires), anti-refusal and lost passport. He said that Pakistan has chalked out a deportation policy, which is the first of its kind. A person to be deported will be certified of his/her Pakistani citizenship.

Followed by this response from State Minister Baligh ur Rehman, MNA Asiya Nasir asked him that her intention to raise this issue was direct the attention of the House towards thousands of stranded Pakistani Christians in Thailand and Sri Lanka. She said that it is possible that the Mr. Baligh ur Rehman has not been informed about this issue.

She said that majority of these Pakistani Christians are detained in Thailand and Sri Lanka and are living in extremely “miserable” conditions. She said that they spend years in detention, and become old. She asked the Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Baligh ur Rehman that whether the Interior Ministry was in contact with the interior ministries in Thailand and Sri Lanka; regarding the plight of stranded Pakistani Christians in these countries.

She said that whether these Christians are seeking asylum in those countries or are there for any other reason they are still Pakistanis. They leave Pakistan due to worsening conditions primarily the religious minorities.

She said that religious minorities’ decision to leave Pakistan and seek asylum in these countries is a wrong decision, nonetheless, they are still Pakistanis. She also mentioned the incident of death of a Pakistani Christian woman, Sanaiana Faisal; who died in detention center. She asked that whether the Interior Ministry is in contact with the Thai interior ministry on how to tackle this crisis.

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To this, Baligh ur Rehman replied that he is well aware that there are Pakistani Christians and members of other minorities and sects in Thailand. He said that, the Ministry is well aware that these Pakistani Christians had applied for asylum there. He said that the latest deportation requests which the Ministry had been dealing with were of Christians.

He said that it is the duty of government to assist each and every Pakistani stranded abroad no matter which religion, sect or class they come from. He said that over the period of past two years, the situation of law and order has been stabilized and that the causes which were driving the religious minorities out of Pakistan have been gradually diminishing.

He said that he received facts and figures from the Foreign Office which reveal that according to the data 81 Pakistani nationals had been detained in Thailand. He assured that once the nationality of those detainees gets ascertained, government is obliged to assist them.

To this, Baligh ur Rehman replied that he is well aware that there are Pakistani Christians and members of other minorities and sects in Thailand. He said that, the Ministry is well aware that these Pakistani Christians had applied for asylum there. He said that the latest deportation requests which the Ministry had been dealing with were of Christians.

He said that it is the duty of government to assist each and every Pakistani stranded abroad no matter which religion, sect or class they come from. He said that over the period of past two years, the situation of law and order has been stabilized and that the causes which were driving the religious minorities out of Pakistan have been gradually diminishing.

While talking with CIP she said, “I can’t leave my people to suffer and die like this since no support is coming from UNHCR. I raised this issue as I was receiving so many messages from people to take up this issue.”