Hundreds of Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in the United Kingdom are being rejected by the British government.
According to a human rights group which advocates for the Pakistani Christians who are persecuted in their own homeland and have fled to the United Kingdom and seek asylum under the British patronage are being overlooked and rejected. The group claims thousands of such Pakistani Christians are being ill-treated in the UK.
It has been two years exactly after the deadly twin suicide blasts at the All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan which claimed more than 300 lives and hundreds were injured. In the wake of rising wave of persecution of Christians in Pakistan, the list housing countries; Pakistan sits at number eight.
Despite Pakistan being the eighth most worst place for Christians to live in and the Pakistani Christians looking in the face of the storm, United Kingdom’s official visa policy for these Pakistani Christians remains restrictive and not facilitating them at all.
UK officially maintains that Christians in Pakistan are not persecuted to that extent.The policy states that, “Christians in Pakistan are a religious minority who, in general, suffer discrimination but this is not sufficient to amount to a real risk of persecution.”
The Head of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BCPA), has termed this policy statement as “flatly wrong,” and fears that “it paints a picture that is utterly at odds with the truth.” He said that the problem lies in the UK’s relying on what has been relayed by Pakistani constitution and the Pakistani government’s official stance rather than “the lived reality of Christian citizens of Pakistan.” The advocacy group in anxious that there is a methodical drive of half-truths by the Pakistani government along with the Pakistani intelligence agencies repressing the reality of miserable life in Pakistan for Christians.
Nonetheless, the policy of Home Office influences various factors beyond the borders of the UK. UNHCR also keeps an eye on UK’s policy which unequivocally influences UNHCR’s approach of not prioritising Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees.
Undoubtedly, the UK policy has been affecting Pakistani Christians who are seeking asylum in other nations including Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Consequently, these countries are forcibly deporting Pakistani Christians on the authority of the UNHCR recommendation though against the international law.