Responding to concerns over the reported deportation of Pakistani asylum-seekers in Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry here on Saturday said the asylum seekers were being encouraged to return “in the vital security interests of Sri Lanka and the region.”
According to an official statement from Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs, it has received a number of inquiries on the return of individual asylum seekers, mainly of Pakistan origin.
Observing that the influx of asylum seekers — as on June 30 there were 1562 asylum seekers and 308 refugees — and the absence of an established place of residence resulted in serious law and order, security, as well as health-related issues for the authorities, the Foreign Ministry claimed that in April 2014, 10 cases of malaria were detected among these asylum seekers.
In June, the Colombo-based The Sunday Times reported that the decision to deport the Pakistanis followed the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New Delhi. The weekly newspaper, in its political column, said Mr. Modi had expressed concern over Pakistani militant groups gathering in Sri Lanka to plan terrorist acts against India. However, Foreign Ministry sources in New Delhi did not comment on the matter.
Last week, The Hindu reported that India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) prepared a dossier to be handed over to Sri Lanka with details of an official in the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, suspected of being involved in a terror plot to target U.S. and Israeli consulates in Chennai and Bangalore. (The Hindu)