The US deported eighty-seven Pakistanis from across the United States on Wednesday.
It appears that United Press International is the only Western media outlet which has reported the mass deportation. According to UPI, a chartered flight on the private YES Airlines was hired to carry the deportees to Pakistan from Buffalo, New York.
The Pakistan Daily Times reports the detainees were arrested by FBI and other law enforcement agents in the aftermath of September 11 attacks. Many of the Pakistani detainees have been in jail until they were deported this week.
This is the third wave of mass deportations of Pakistanis this year. On August 21, 95 were deported, and on June 25, 131 were deported.
Human Rights Watch reported earlier this year that many detainees have been incarcerated and treated as criminals: "Persons detained on immigration charges or on material witness warrants are not accused of criminal conduct, much less convicted of it. Nevertheless, detainees held in connection with the September 11 investigation have been treated as though they were convicted terrorists."
But the INS says the detainees are in fact criminals.
- Anwar Iqbal, UPI analyst for South Asian Affairs and author of "US Boots 87 Pakistanis."
- Bill Strassberger, Public Affairs Officer, INS, Washington DC. He is the primary spokesperson for INS asylum, refugee and immigration law issues.
- Ahsanullah Khan, Pakistani immigrant rights activist with the Coney Island Avenue Project.