LONDON: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Britain wants Pakistan to take back thousands of Pakistanis who have overstayed their visit visa in the UK and have no status but cannot be sent back to Pakistan without a proper treaty.
At a press conference in Pakistan High Commission here, the Foreign Minister said that the UK govt wants Pakistan to sign re-admission treaty so that the overstayers and others living illegally could be sent back to Pakistan. Qureshi said signing this treaty will be helpful for those Pakistanis who apply for the visit but their visas are rejected because Britain is cautious of visa applicants.
“We have initiated dialogue on this. This will help those who are genuine visa applicants. This will help Pakistan more,” said Qureshi.
Its understood that nearly four million illegals currently live in the United Kingdom. Of these, more than 30 thousand are believed to be Pakistanis. More than 70 thousand from India, 25 thousand from Bangladesh and the rest from other parts of the world.
Qureshi said that linked with the same matter, he had discussed with Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, the issue of former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The Foreign Minister confirmed that there is no extradition treaty currently between the UK and Pakistan and the issue of capital punishment has been the “biggest obstacle” between the two countries. We have found a way and that’s to amend the Pakistan Penal Code which will address the concerns of Britain, he said. He said amending the PPC will help Pakistan in seeking the extradition of people it wants.
He said that an exchange of prisoners programme exists between the two counties but the two countries need more than that.
Answering a question, Qureshi said he had no ambition to seek any other role other than what he already has. He was asked if he is seeking to become the prime minister or take over the Pakistan Thereek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Qureshi replied: “I am content with what I have. I know about my position and I am fine with that.”
When asked about the alleged selective accountability by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Qureshi said that it was up to the NAB to make independent decisions. He said that the NAB was taking decisions on merit and out of the government control.
Qureshi said that he was disheartened that Pakistan cricket team lost to India but he added that the team captain didn’t listen to the advice of Imran Khan.
About the appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui to bring investments to Pakistan, Qureshi said that the PM had taken this decision to improve investments. He said Siddiqui will be working without a salary and will not cost anything to Pakistan. When reminded that his party had made allegations against him and termed his appointments previously as national security threat, Qureshi distance himself from the PTI official view in recent past and said that he personally made no allegations against Siddiqui.
Qureshi said he had met with Pakistani community, business persons, potential investors, young entrepreneurs and the British Pakistani Parliamentarians during his visit of the UK and explained to them about he opportunities that Pakistan offered. He said that the government is fully committed to the welfare of the people and has taken necessary measures in this regard. He said that structural changes in economy would lead to sustainable economic growth. He commended the constructive role played by the expatriate community in the socio-economic development of the UK as well as Pakistan. He said around 1.5 million strong Pakistani Diaspora in the UK is a vital link between the two countries and gives strength to our bilateral relations. He urged the Diaspora to invest in various sectors of Pakistan economy and benefit from the investment friendly regime of the country. He said he found great potential in young Pakistani entrepreneurs.