Pakistanis among top six countries seeking asylum in EU, says report; increased attacks by militants on vulnerable groups

Pakistanis are among the top nationalities seeking asylum in the European Union (EU), a report from the EU asylum support office said, adding increased targeted killings and attacks on minorities, forced conversions are among the reasons

Nov 02, 2021
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Pakistanis among top six countries seeking asylum in EU

Pakistanis are among the top nationalities seeking asylum in the European Union (EU), a report from the EU asylum support office said, adding increased targeted killings and attacks on minorities, forced conversions are among the reasons.  The report, titled Pakistan Security Situation Report 2021, compiled by The European Asylum Support Office (EASO), said over 26,500 Pakistanis had applied for asylum in 2019.  And, almost 12,000 between January to September 2020. 

During the period, the report said militant attacks on the country’s religious minorities, forced religious conversions, and targeted killings continued. Ahmadis, a Muslim sect that is not counted as Muslims in Pakistan, Shia, Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians often face the worst form of discrimination. 

Attacks on these vulnerable groups have increased, says the report.

Released last week, the report said several armed militant groups, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan, and Haqqani Network have been reportedly present in Pakistan and continued to carry out attacks in the country.

Between January to September in 2020, the number of Pakistani asylum seekers, decreased by almost 37 percent--mostly due to Covid restrictions--in comparison with the same period a year ago. At the end of September 2020, close to 19,200 Pakistani cases were awaiting the first-instance decision, down from almost 21,200 cases at the end of 2019.

However, just 8 percent of those who applied received some form of EU-regulated protection between January and September 2020--a decrease of 10 percent from the same period in 2019. 

On the security situation, Pakistan’s security forces carried out 47 raids against militants in 2020 in the same period, the report says, resulting in the killings of 146 people; Of them, 129 were militants and 17 security personnel.  

From January 2020 to July 2021, 344 Pakistanis were killed reportedly as a result of violence, the report said. Both internal and external factors contributed to the increase in these violent incidents.  

The main internal security challenges consist of political and economic instability, ethnic and sectarian conflicts, religious extremism, and militancy, while external security challenges are linked to the relationship of Pakistan with neighboring countries, especially Afghanistan and India.

(SAM)