Arrangements made for repatriation of 54 Pakistani prisoners in US


-54 out of 107 Pakistanis languishing in US jails to be deported

-Charter flight scheduled to bring them home on May 15

ISLAMABAD: A plan to repatriate 54 Pakistani prisoners languishing in the United States (US) jails has been finalised and a chartered flight carrying Pakistani nationals is scheduled to reach Islamabad on May 15, Pakistan Today has learned.

So far, Washington has decided to deport 54 out of 107 Pakistanis languishing in jails on the charges of terrorism, robbery, breach of immigration laws, sexual harassments, drugs and false citizenship.

A number of parleys of dialogue between the officials of US Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and high-ups of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) in Pakistan and officials of Pakistan Embassy in Washington have been conducted for the repatriation of Pakistanis due to their alleged involvement in different crimes. Also, the US sought verification of 107 Pakistanis from Pakistan’s Embassy at Washington.

Similarly, ICE requested Embassy of Pakistan in Washington to grant permission for a charter flight for the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners. However, nationality verification of 107 suspected Pakistani in the US is still underway as only 30 Pakistani nationals have been verified while a US charter flight is scheduled for May 15, 2018, for repatriation of Pakistanis.

23 out of 30 individuals verified by the MOI have already been issued ETDs (emergency travel document). Remaining seven are also set to be issued ETDs in a couple of days. Most of these individuals were already verified by the respective mission as they possessed NADRA issued citizenship numbers.

“Total number of persons for the charter flight would come to 54 including all verified cases as of now,” said an email message of Saeed Ali, an official of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. He added that carrying subject nationality verification of thirty suspected Pakistanis in the US.

The ICE has set May 7, 2018, as the last date for the issuance of ETDs as the ICE authorities need some time for preparatory work prior to the departure date, said the documents.

“Foregoing in the view, the Ministry is requested to kindly approach the MOI for expedited verification latest by May 4, 2018 (May 5-6 being weekend) of as many as individuals possible to bring the number of deportees to a reasonable level,” said an email message of Counsellor Political-VI, Embassy of Pakistan, Washington D.C.

These Pakistanis, currently incarcerated in the US prisons, were found guilty from 1996 to February 2018 of various crimes such as terrorism, immigration violations, fraud, false citizenship, sexual assault, sex offence, gambling, drug possession, possession of a weapon, traffic offence and disorderly conduct.

Out of 54 Pakistanis named by the ICE, only one Pakistani, Kashif Nauman, is being deported on terrorism charges, said the documents.

Earlier, ICE presented an official request to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington to grant permission to the ICE to conduct a charter mission for transportation of Pakistani nationals to Islamabad during the week of April 23, 2018. However, delay in the nationality verification of Pakistanis has apparently caused the delay in the deportation.

“We currently have a manifest of 107 subjects to present with final orders of removal that are currently in the identity verification process. ICE respectfully requests the embassy to provide an official response to accept the charter proposal,” the US ICE said in the official request to Pakistan’s embassy.

According to documents, 35 Pakistani nationals are in the US prisons only because of their violations of immigration rules while 11 Pakistanis are in detention due to sexual offences and 18 persons were allegedly involved in the possesion of drug and arms.

It is pertinent to mention that it is not just Pakistani nationals which are to be deported from the US. The ICE conducted meetings with both Pakistani and Indian officials and resolved to charter a joint flight to carry out the deportations of the individuals belonging to the neighbouring countries. The jointly agreed chartered flight will first go to India to hand over the Indian prisoners and later, this flight will arrive in Pakistan to lay off the Pakistani nationals.