No asylum for 66 Pakistani nationals detained in TiharBy IANS
Thursday, November 26, 2009
NEW DELHI - There would be no political asylum for the 66 detained Pakistani nationals in Tihar jail, the ministry of home affairs told the Delhi High Court Thursday.
“Their plea for grant of political asylum has been rejected and the process of their deportation has begun,” the government’s counsel informed a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar.
When counsel for the Pakistanis said they had not been informed about the government’s decision, the court asked the government to inform them about it within one week. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on Dec 16.
The court also rejected the Pakistanis’ plea to summon United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC): “Summoning UNHRC is out of our jurisdiction. If you want to approach UNHRC you can do it on your own.”
In April 2007, members of the Mehdi Foundation had fled Pakistan fearing prosecution on charges of blasphemy as they belonged to a multi-faith spiritual organisation that promoted the doctrine of divine love.
After coming to India, the members had staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in the capital and burnt their Pakistani passports.
The Pakistani nationals had last year filed a public interest petition in the court seeking a stay on their deportation as they faced cases of blasphemy and existing Pakistani law prescribes either life sentence or death for those charged with the offence.