At least 66 Pakistani nationals lodged in the high-security Tihar jail and seeking political asylum in India may be deported soon. The Centre sees no reasons to let them live this side of the border.
Owning allegiance to ‘Mehndi Foundation’, the Pakistanis, including women and children, fled Pakistan two years ago fearing prosecution for blasphemy. The Mehndi Foundation is a multi-faith spiritual body that promotes the doctrine of divine love. Pakistani law prescribes life sentence or death for blasphemy.
The foundation members staged protests near Parliament last year, demanding political asylum. The police detained them when they burnt their passports. The members then moved Delhi high court seeking a stay on their deportation. A bench of chief justice AP Shah and justice S Murlidhar sought the government’s response to the plea.
On Thursday, the government counsel said it cannot accept the plea. The process of their deportation has begun. The court also rejected their plea to summon United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). It told the inmates’ counsel, “If you want to approach UNHRC you can do so on your own.”
Last year, a team of Pakistani judges visiting Tihar jail were in for a surprise when Pakistani prisoners refused to return to Islamabad, preferring to languish in Indian jails. Around 678 Pakistanis are languishing in Indian jails.
The Pakistani judges said they were shocked to see 16 Pakistani prisoners had lost their mental balance in Amritsar jail. “They were unable to relate their addresses and names. We’ve decided to advertise their pictures in mass media for their identification,” the delegation said.