Pakistan warns UK against deportation of students, seeks apology
Pakistan has challenged the morality of the UK government by asking London to apologise to 11 Pakistani students, who were arrested on false charge of involvement in terrorism, and their families. Islamabad has also asked the government in London to release and let the Pakistani students complete their education. So it is to be seen now whether the UK government has courage to tender an apology or not?
Pakistan on Wednesday summoned the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ray Kyles, to the Foreign Office and told him that an apology to the 11 Pakistani students and their families was in order, after the false charges of terrorism could not be proven against them. It also urged Great Britain to immediately free the boys and allow them to complete their education.
The men, 11 Pakistanis and one Briton, were arrested in northwest England on April 8 as part of an operation against what Prime Minister Gordon Brown called at the time a “very big terrorist plot”.
He had, together with his foreign secretary, made highly publicised telephone calls to their counterparts in Islamabad, accusing Pakistan of sponsoring terror to Great Britain and asking Pakistan “to do more”.
The British police said on Wednesday they would bring no charges against the 12 men seized in raids to foil a suspected al-Qaeda plot. Police said all the suspects, aged between 22 and 38, had been released although 11 had been handed over to immigration officials and face deportation on national security grounds.
Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to justify holding them any longer or bringing charges, police said. Kyles met with Director General Europe Mazhar Javed where he was told that since now it had been confirmed that no charges could be brought against these Pakistanis, they should be immediately released and allowed to complete their studies in the UK.
The view from the Foreign Office on Wednesday night was that the matter was far from being settled and if there was nothing against these students, then they should not be unnecessarily stigmatised. These students can either voluntarily decide to return or they can be deported.
“Well, these students are still in custody and will not be completely free unless they are allowed to go. It would be in the fitness of things that for now at least, the British government should apologise to these boys and their families who have gone through an extreme trauma,” the spokesman at the Foreign Office told The News.
He said that Pakistan’s high commissioner had been instructed by the Foreign Office that if any of these boys wanted to take legal action, so that he could remain and finish his studies, then the cost will be borne by the Government of Pakistan.
“Even earlier we had maintained that if the British government had evidence, then these boys should be tried, and Pakistan would cooperate. But that they should be immediately freed if the charges did not stick,” added the spokesman.
When asked if it was also not appropriate that the British prime minister and the foreign secretary should also apologise to their counterparts, after making such dangerous charges of terrorism, the spokesman replied, “Yes, that too should be done. These boys have not faced trauma themselves but their friends and family did not know for days about their whereabouts. They have also been embarrassed. They are young and should be allowed to live a normal life and, most importantly, be allowed to finish their education,” added the spokesman.
There has been harsh criticism against the British government both in Pakistan and in different British cities. The Muslim community in Great Britain says that they feel threatened and are being discriminated against only because of their country of origin and religion.
Pakistan has asked the UK to refrain from deporting 11 Pakisani students who were arrested on false charge of involvement in terrorism.
The spokesman to Foreign Office (FO) Abdul Basit has said that Pakistan will ask British government not to deport its citizens who were rounded up on suspicion of links with terrorists but later were released, as UK government could not produce evidences against them.
Talking to Geo news, FO spokesman said Pakistani students had to undergo harsh time during their detention period behind bars and now it is up to UK government that how does it compensate students’ abuse.
Discussing the issue, Pakistani High Commission to London Wajid Shams-ul-Hassan said British government must beg pardon to Pakistan government over this illegal action taken against our students sans availability of evidences.
“We are in contact with British officials so that Pakistani students may not be deported”, he maintained adding, “As many as 11 Pakistani students in UK were arrested from Manchester and Liverpool areas without evidences and were kept in custody for 12 days and they underwent media trail”.
Media reported on Tuesday that UK government was mulling to deport those Pakistani students.