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Thursday, February 22, 2024  
11 Shaban 1445  

Pakistan bound by UN conventions protecting refugees’ rights: Justice Ayesha

Apex court issues notices to federation, apex committee in case about evicting illegal immigrants
Afghan refugees rest at a makeshift camp upon their arrival from Pakistan, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan Torkham border in Nangarhar province on November 2, 2023. AFP
Afghan refugees rest at a makeshift camp upon their arrival from Pakistan, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan Torkham border in Nangarhar province on November 2, 2023. AFP

Supreme Court’s judge Justice Ayesha Malik observed on Friday that Pakistan was bound by the United Nations conventions that safeguarded the rights of refugees.

She said this as a three-member bench comprising Justice Malik, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, and Justice Yahya Afridi took up a set of petitions challenging the caretaker government’s decision to expel illegal immigrants.

The applications sought restraining orders against the decision.

At the hearing, petitioner Farhatullah Babar maintained that the interim setup does not have the mandate to expel illegal immigrants. The Afghan immigrants who are being expelled have already applied for asylum, he added.

Babar, who belongs to the PPP, said that the court has the prerogative to protect the rights of citizens.

Justice Afridi inquired about the fundamental rights being violated in the current case. Articles 4 (right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with the law), 9 (security of a person), 10 (right to fair trial) and 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution, the petitioner replied.

Justice Masood said: “Should those who have been living [in the country] for the past 40 years stay here? Assist the court on this.”

Meanwhile, Justice Ayesha remarked that Pakistan was bound by the United Nations conventions that protected the rights of refugees.

Later, the court issued notices to the federal government and the apex committee and adjourned the hearing of the case till next week.

Illegal immigrants – including Afghan refugees – started returning home after Pakistan set a November 1 deadline for them to return home or face deportation.

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Afghan refugees

illegal immigrants

Afghan nationals expulsion

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