The United Kingdom signed a major deal with Pakistan on Wednesday under which foreign “criminals” and illegal immigrants from the UK would be handed over to Pakistan. Both sides have hailed the agreement as a landmark achievement of Britain’s New Plan for Immigration.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel commended the development on Twitter, saying that “I’m proud to have signed a new landmark agreement with our Pakistani friends to return foreign criminals and immigration offenders from the UK to Pakistan. This deal shows our #NewPlanForImmigration in action, as we deliver for the British people.”

Patel went on to say that “I make no apology for removing dangerous foreign criminals and immigration offenders who have no right to remain in the UK. The British public has quite rightly had enough of people abusing our laws and gaming the system so we can’t remove them.”

“This agreement, which I am proud to have signed with our Pakistani friends, shows the New Plan for Immigration in action and the government delivering.”

A statement from the Pakistani High Commission said: “The agreement renews and updates, in a bilateral context an earlier agreement between Pakistan and the European Community regarding readmission of persons residing without authorisation concluded in Oct 2009. The bilateral agreement was necessitated by the exit of the UK from the European Union.”

The statement said that Pakistanis comprise the seventh largest number of foreign criminals in prisons in England and Wales, totalling nearly 3 per cent of the national offender population. Under the new law, Pakistani nationals with no right to remain in the United Kingdom will be removed from the country and handed over to Pakistan. These include failed asylum seekers, immigration offenders and “criminals.”

“The agreement underlines both countries’ ongoing commitment to tackling the issue of illegal migration and the significant threats it poses to both nations. The agreement also includes ongoing work to improve and expand UK-Pakistani law enforcement cooperation,” the statement said.

Even though Pakistan has been seeking an extradition treaty with the UK for years, this agreement falls short of that. The Pakistani government was presented with this deal last year and refused to sign it as it would cause an influx of dangerous criminals in the country without any critical information sharing.

The agreement with Pakistan comes after similar deals were signed with India and Albania last year, as well as Nigeria and Serbia this year. This agreement would prove to be a thorn in the side of the Baloch immigrants and asylum seekers who have sought refuge in the UK for years. Owing to their “illegal” status as “failed asylum seekers”, many political workers and activists are vulnerable to swift deportation to Pakistan where their lives would be in grave danger.

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