LAHORE: Weeks after turning away dozens of deportees from Europe, Pakistan admitted more than 100 illegal migrants deported by Saudi Arabia despite initially refusing them entry.
A flight from Jeddah had landed with about 120 expatriates, including 15 women, at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore. The immigration authorities, however, refused them entry as they did not have the required documents needed to prove their nationality.
Later, the deportees were reportedly allowed entry on the orders of the interior ministry.
But a senior official of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said the deportees from Saudi Arabia were only stopped to verify their credentials and later allowed in after their identities were confirmed.
It was not clear why the Saudi authorities had deported the Pakistani citizens.
When contacted, the interior ministry spokesperson expressed complete ignorance about the development.
The interior ministry had recently revised its policy of refusing all deported migrants, especially from Europe, who could not prove their identity.
In November, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had announced suspending the readmission agreements with many countries because of its “misuse”.
He alleged that many countries had been deporting illegal residents without verification. He had said citizens whose nationalities had not been checked were also being sent back to Pakistan.
On December 10, Pakistan refused to accept six migrants after the FIA found they had been illegally deported from the UK.
A week earlier, the authorities had refused to accept 30 illegal Pakistani migrants deported by the Greek authorities. While 19 people on the flight from Athens were allowed entry after thorough verification, the special flight was sent back to Greece with the remaining 30 deportees.