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National

July 2, 2015

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Pak Christian immigrants facing miseries in Thailand

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) Chairman Sajid Ishaq has drawn attention of the world humanitarian bodies, the UNHCH in particular, towards the pitiable conditions in which the thousands of Pakistani Christians are living in Thailand.
He said that these Pakistani Christians have travelled to Thailand under the fear of persecution in their country of origin. “However, they seem to have made a wrong choice by going to Thailand as the country is not a signatory to the 1951 US Refugee Convention. The situation also leaves UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) helpless as the body has no legal power to help asylum seekers in Thailand.
The PIL chairman said that there were some 4,000 Pakistani Christians languishing in inhuman conditions in Thailand, waiting for some miracle to happen that may take away their pain and miseries and give them the right to live in peace and without any fear in a land of their choice.
“While we know that there are over 4,000 Christians, men, women and children, and some over 300 have been arrested by the Thai police including 44 children, 43 women and 35 men in a single raid on March 13, 2015, nothing has stirred here in Pakistan,” Sajid Ishaq said.
He said that he had received credible information that the Thailand police and the military had raided houses of asylum seekers living in Samrong district, smashed the doors and entered the houses. The Thai police and the army treated the poor asylum seekers in a very inhuman manner.
Sajid Ishaq said that he had been receiving very disturbing reports that the double-persecuted Pakistani Christian refugees, who fled religious persecution in Pakistan were now suffering in Thailand’s detention centers.
“A large number of people were arrested, including minors, women, young and old indiscriminately. They were taken to the local police station where they were ordered to sit in the car parking area. Later, they were ushered inside the police

station where all of them were made to squat on the floor in a cramped place,” the PIL chairman said.
“It is unfortunate that the UNHCR in Thailand is not interested in helping these thousands of Pakistan Christians as they are being given 4 to 5 years waiting time before their applications for asylum would be taken up for consideration. This attitude has put these Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in perilous conditions,” Sajid Ishaq said.
He said that in absence of any kind of help in a foreign land, these Pakistani Christians stood in long rows for hours and in hot weather conditions in front of the Churches in Thailand for small amount of food help.
“Even the clergy in Thailand dislike their own Christian brothers and sisters of Pakistani origin. No medicine or financial help for medical care is available to these unfortunate people. Even more disturbing is the fact that nominated relief organisations provide help to the asylum seekers of other faiths but turn down the Christians of the same category,” the PIL chairman said.
He appealed to the Pakistan government, the government of Thailand, the UNHCR, the UN and other humanitarian and relief agencies to respond to this serious situation and help these Pakistani Christians who had left their motherland in face of persistent fear of religious persecution in search of a safe place in the world for themselves and for their children.

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