Sept 01, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court on Monday withdrew the interim order suspending the deportation of Pakistani and Afghan asylum seekers allowing the Sri Lankan government to send them back to the countries where they fled from.
The Court of Appeals hearing the arguments presented by the Deputy Solicitor General Janaka de Silva on a petition filed by an aggrieved Pakistani refugee withdrew the interim order it issued on August 15 to suspend repatriating Pakistani nationals who have sought refugee status in Sri Lanka.
The petitioner, Anila Imran, in her petition told the court that Pakistani authorities persecute Christians and Shia Muslims in the Ahamandi region and they had arrived in Sri Lanka seeking protection. She has requested the court to stop sending them back to Pakistan.
Deputy Solicitor General de Silva presenting objections in the court said that there is evidence of Pakistani asylum seekers committing crimes and they are a threat to national security. He said the government of Sri Lanka has a right to deport foreign nationals living in the country without visas.
After considering the arguments, the Appeals Court withdrew the interim order imposed on August 15 and extended on August 29, thereby allowing authorities to deport the Pakistani asylum seekers.
The local people believe the Pakistani refugees are the cause for religious discord in Sri Lanka as their presence is encouraging the extremist Buddhist groups.
Sri Lanka said last month that there are about 1500 Pakistani, and Afghan nationals who were staying in the country illegally draining the island's resources.
The government said the influx of asylum seekers, mostly Pakistanis has resulted in serious law and order, security, as well as health related issues for the authorities while the country is burdened and the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR is too slow to process their cases and resettle them.
The UNHCR said Sri Lanka's deportation of the refugees back to the places where they fled from is a violation of international law and called on the Sri Lankan government to immediately halt deportations.
According to the UNHCR, Sri Lanka is bound by observance of the of non-refoulement law which prohibits the return of refugees to territory where they face danger.