ZoneAsia-Pk

The government yesterday instructed its diplomatic missions in European capitals to demand evidence of a potential crime when host countries sought to deport illegal immigrants being held on terror charges to Pakistan.

The move came days after Islamabad said it had suspended its agreement on the readmission of illegal immigrants with European Union countries, except Britain, because of its “blatant misuse”.

During a meeting on Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed Pakistani diplomatic missions in Europe to demand proof from host governments that wanted to deport Pakistanis on terror charges, a statement said.

Deportation: Pakistan wants proof of terror

“It is a violation of human rights if any Pakistani is deported on terror charges without any proof,” he said, according to the statement.

“We have to not only give courage to Pakistani expatriates, but also stand by them at every step.

Khan also warned that airlines who carried deportees back to Pakistan without the interior ministry’s permission or without travel documents would have to pay unspecified fines.

The meeting also discussed the ways to improve the weak provisions in the recently suspended re-admission (deportation) treaty with the European Union.

The minister said that it was violation of human rights to level terrorism charges against any Pakistani without solid proof.

FIA TO COLLECT ‘EVIDENCE’ AGAINST KHANANI

The meeting also tasked the Federal Investigation Agency to collect alleged evidences against Pakistani moneychanger Altaf Khanani from US authorities who was arrested in the United States on charges of facilitating illicit money movement and terror financing.

The Ministry of Interior directed FIA to collect evidences against Khanani from the US and start action against him and his company in Pakistan.

Altaf Khanani was arrested in the United States in September on charges of terror financing to some militant groups and facilitating illicit money movement from Pakistan to other foreign countries.

Local moneychangers fear more arrests from Pakistan on the basis of investigations being conducted from Khanani.

A statement issued after the meeting said the chair directed FIA that the acquittal of Khanani and his partner Abdul Munaf Kalia in a money laundering case in Pakistan back in 2010 should be taken up in higher courts.

“Why FIA did not make any progress in the case and why it is pending so far,” Nisar questioned and added that the agency should look whether some elements within FIA or some political hands are behind their acquittal.

“Altaf Khanani, head of the Khanani Money Laundering Organisation and Al Zarooni Exchange have been involved in the movement of funds for Taliban, and Altaf Khanani is known to have had relationships with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Dawood Ibrahim, Al-Qaeda, and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement on last Friday while confirming his arrest.

“The Khanani MLO facilitates illicit money movement between Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other countries, and is responsible for laundering billions of dollars in organised crime proceeds annually,” the statement added.

FIA had arrested Khanani and his business partner Kalia from Karachi in 2008 but fled to Dubai soon following his acquittal by a banking court while the state appeal has been pending in the courts for the past six years.

According to official sources, FIA at that time had helped Khanani and Kalia to get their acquittal in the money laundering case through weak investigations in the case.

In the meeting, interior minister also directed FIA to launch crackdown against human smugglers locally and abroad.

The meeting decided that passports and identity cards of more than 300 human smugglers and their agents, identified by FIA, should be cancelled and blocked respectively at once.

Similarity, their bank accounts should be frozen.

DG passports, Chairman NADRA and FIA were issued directions in this connection.

The chair directed FIA to arrest them through Interpol and present a report to him weekly about actions taken to stop human smuggling in the country.

Nisar directed to implement the policy of 5Ps, including prevention, protection of victims, prosecution of criminals, pursuing proclaimed offenders and absconders and forging local as well as international partnerships.

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