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Turkey approves to repatriate Pakistani migrants

ANKARA/DIKILI: Turkey’s parliament sanctioned overnight a contract enabling Ankara to repatriate Pakistani migrants, as people continue to be sent to Turkey from Greece as part of a European Union (EU) pact to curtail mass migration to Europe.

Pakistani migrants are among those who have previously been directed back to Turkey under the pact.

A ferry carrying 45 Pakistani migrants reverted to Turkey from the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday ─ the second round of advents under the EU deal with Ankara to curtail mass migration to Europe across the Aegean Sea.

The accord, which came into force on Monday, is directed to aid end a frenzied inflow into the EU of migrants and refugees, most absconding war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, after the arrival of over a million previous year.

Another vessel carrying a larger group of migrants was due to leave Lesbos later in the morning, Greek state TV informed. Those who left initialy on Friday were from Pakistan, it said.

Around two dozen uniformed Turkish police officers lined the lodging floor board of the ferryboat after it stopped in the Turkish town of Dikili, convoyed by two Turkish coast guard vessels.

All Pakistanis on board were men, a Turkish official endorsed.

Before the boat left from Lesbos, at least two rights campaigners leapt into the water close to the small boat, hanging from the hefty chain of the anchor and flashing the ‘v’ for victory sign in an effort to stop the vessel from sailing from the port of Mytilene back to Turkey. They were pulled from the water by the Greek coastguard.

Activists say the EU-Turkey pact runs roughshod over human rights, and they stood at the gates of the port blowing hoots and knocking on metal barriers in disapproval.

Pakistan was one of the top five countries of origin among the one million migrants who arrived in Europe last year, though most are deemed financial migrants rather than refugees from conflict.

A first group of 202 migrants, most from Pakistan and Afghanistan, were directed back to Turkey on Monday.

 

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