Pak to provide free emergency passports, Britain to help the return of Pakistanis detained or living illegally
Tags: Asif Ali Zardari, Rehman Malik, Gordon Brown
27th August 2009: Britain and Pakistan have decided to join hands for return of Pakistani immigrants putting up illegally in Britain.
Available information indicates Pakistan authorities will provide free emergency passports. Britain, on the other hand, will help the return of Pakistanis detained or living illegally in the country. The agreement is expected to target illegal immigrants, but could be used against suspected terrorists.
As of now, it is unclear who pays the airfares.
In a statement, the High Commission for Pakistan in London said the numbers of such Pakistani immigrants could be in thousands.
The agreement follows talks between Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik and his British counterpart Alan Johnson in London just before Pak President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit.
A spokesman for Britain’s Interior Ministry said in a statement they welcomed Interior Minister Malik’s commitment to facilitating the return of Pakistani nationals, who have been found to have no right to stay in the UK.
Working with foreign governments to establish identity and obtain documentation is a crucial part of enforcing the UK’s immigration laws, the spokesman asserted, adding they also welcomed close co-operation with the Pakistan government in working to tackle international terrorism.
Describing the agreement as “important achievement”, Malik said he wanted to inform the Pakistanis they must not think they can get a permanent status even if they stay here illegally for 10 years or more.
The ministers also discussed counter-terrorism and security. During a meeting in May in London between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Zardari, Britain and Pakistan had pledged to work in close coordination on counter-terrorism and economic development fronts