After Myanmar deports Pakistanis, China and Malaysia follow suit

11 August 2016
After Myanmar deports Pakistanis, China and Malaysia follow suit
A view of Kuala Lumpur city skyline, Malaysia. Photo: EPA

Malaysia and China have also expelled Pakistani nationals on grounds of security last week almost immediately after the deportation of two Pakistani nationals from Myanmar.
Two Pakistanis, Kazim Ali and Rahil Shahid were sent back to Lahore via Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur on August 6, top Malaysian sources said. 
Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country but its government is opposed to Islamist radicalism and responds harshly against groups or individuals preaching such.
It is one country where India's controversial Islamist preacher Zakir Naik is banned. 
Another Pakistani national Faraz Sohail Khan was deported from Shanghai on August 6 as well, Chinese official sources said.
Considering that China is Pakistan's "iron brother" and "all-weather friend", Beijing invoked "security grounds" to expel Khan is significant.
These expulsions followed within four days of Myanmar expelling two Pakistanis for "unauthorised preaching."
Ahmed Zulfiqar and his son Ahmed Safullah were deported from Myanmar on August 2, 2016, on charges of violation of the Immigration Law.
Both Islamic clerics had arrived in Yangon from Bangkok on July 26 and had given sermons in Panbetan, Kyauktada and Mingala Taunganyuat townships without seeking formal permission from the local authorities as required by law. 
They were arrested on July 30 by police in Yangon for instigating local Muslims through sermons.
The maximum punishment for this breach of Immigration Law is 6 months in prison or a fine or both.
However, following the intervention of Pakistani embassy officials in Yangon, both Zulfiqar and Safullah were released on bail and were flown back to Bangkok. 
The bail amount and return airfare were paid by the Pakistan Embassy. The Consul in Pakistan's Yangon embassy personally intervened with Myanmar authorities to secure their release.
Local Muslims maintain that the visit and sermons delivered by Zulfiqar and his son were routine in nature and that this once again highlighted the systemic bias and prejudice against Muslims and Islamic practices in Myanmar.
The father and son had been detained over the weekend and the Tamwe Township Court and found guilty of an immigration violation under sections 4(2) and 13(1) of the 1947 Immigration Act. They were sentenced with a Ks 100,000 fine each and told they could be deported or face a year in prison.
Tamwe township immigration officer U Maung Maung told media that Zulfiqar and his son had opted for deportation.
A local Muslim leader said the father and son had no intention of breaking the law.
“Really it was a misunderstanding,” said U Aye Lwin, a Muslim leader and member of the Muslim Interfaith Association.
Bangladesh has also recently expelled two Pakistani diplomats, saying they were staffers of military intelligence agency ISI and responsible for funding and backing Islamist radicals in the country.