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Tuesday July 16, 2024

PHC stays deportation of Afghan musicians

By Bureau report
June 21, 2024
The Peshawar High Court building. — PHC Website/File
The Peshawar High Court building. — PHC Website/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has issued notices to relevant authorities to stop the forced deportation of Afghan musicians seeking political asylum in Pakistan.

The court also directed the police and other agencies not to harass the Afghan artists. Former Advocate General Aamir Javed has been appointed as a judicial assistant in the case.The case was heard by a two-member bench comprising Justice Ijaz Anwar and Justice Waqar Ahmad. The petitioners’ counsel, Mumtaz Ali advocate, appeared before the court, while the assistant attorney general represented the federal government.

The petitioners’ lawyer informed the court that the Afghan musicians fled to Pakistan due to threats to their lives and profession following the fall of the previous government in Afghanistan. Their asylum applications are currently pending with the UNHCR.

The lawyer argued that until a final decision is made on their applications by the UNHCR, the musicians should not be deported, as they face severe threats in Afghanistan. He also mentioned that a similar case is pending in the Supreme Court and requested a stay on the deportation until the decision is made.

Justice Ijaz Anwar inquired about the musicians’ status, to which their lawyer responded that they have no legal documents and requested that they not be expelled from Pakistan. Justice Waqar Ahmad asked if a request had been made to the federal government, to which the lawyer replied that their applications are with the UNHCR.

Justice Ijaz Anwar questioned Afghan musician Hashmat Sahar about his entry into Pakistan, who confirmed that some had visas while others did not, and that they face threats in Afghanistan.

The assistant attorney general mentioned that programmes are being held in Afghanistan now, but Justice Waqar Ahmad noted that the petitioners still face danger based on old videos.The court appointed former advocate general Aamir Javed as a judicial assistant to assist with the case, considering all relevant laws and international agreements.

The court directed that the Afghan musicians should not be harassed and adjourned the hearing until the next session.