Court allows 65 detained Pakistanis to stay in jail


New Delhi : A total of 65 Pakistani nationals, detained for staying in India without valid documents, will continue to stay in Tihar Jail as the Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the government not to decide on their deportation till April 28.

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The court was hearing a plea to hand over the Pakistanis, detained in 2007, to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is yet to grant them refugee status.

Justice Hima Kohli said: “The union home ministry should not take a decision to deport 65 Pakistani nationals till April 28.”

The court gave its interim order while hearing the petition filed by Pakistani nationals Saifullah Bajwa and others seeking relief.

“Allow us to walk out on bail or else hand us over to the UNHCR,” said the petitioner.

Justice Kohli issued the notices to the central government, the Delhi government and the UNHCR and sought their replies by April 28.

The Pakistani nationals belonging to Gowhar Shahi sect, banned by the Pakistan government, have been under detention in Tihar Jail since April 23, 2007, after they staged a demonstration demanding asylum in India.

“Refusing to return to their homeland, they had during their protests burnt the Pakistani flag, their passports and visa papers,” said the petition.

A division bench of the court earlier directed the central government not to deport the Pakistanis till March 2011 on the ground that the UNHCR had completed their interviews and a final report about their refugee status was yet to come.