Friday, September 22, 2023

Pakistan, UK sign agreement to return convicted criminals, immigration offenders

Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK) on Wednesday signed a landmark agreement, under which the UK would return Pakistani criminals and immigration offenders back to the country.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the agreement in London during a meeting with Pakistan’s Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar and the Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK Moazzam Ahmad Khan.

“I’m proud to have signed a new landmark agreement with our Pakistani friends to return foreign criminals and immigration offenders from the UK to Pakistan. This deal shows our #NewPlanForImmigration in action, as we deliver for the British people”, said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel while lauding the development in a Twitter post.

“I make no apology for removing dangerous foreign criminals and immigration offenders who have no right to remain in the UK,” Patel said in a statement adding that “the British public have quite rightly had enough of people abusing our laws and gaming the system so we can’t remove them.”

A statement from the Pakistani High Commission said: “The agreement renews and updates, in a bilateral context an earlier agreement between Pakistan and the European Community regarding readmission of persons residing without authorization concluded in Oct 2009. The bilateral agreement was necessitated by the exit of the UK from the European Union.”

The accord was originally finalized by the PTI government in late previous year and the UK finally went ahead with the deal for which officials from Islamabad and London have held talks over the past couple of years.

Pakistanis to be repatriated

Earlier in 2021, the then minister of state for interior, Shahzad Akbar had explained that under the new agreement following Pakistanis would be repatriated with their details shared:

  • those whose visas had expired
  • who had overstayed illegally
  • who were charged as sex offenders to mention some
  • illegal immigrants, who travel to the UK, some on student visas and others as tourists but often never return and seek asylum there, will not be able to stay in the UK without a valid reason.

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