The United Kingdom (UK) signed a major deal with Pakistan on Wednesday, under which foreign criminals and immigration offenders from the UK can be returned to Pakistan. Both the Pakistan High Commission and the UK Home Office have celebrated the deal, viewing it as a migration partnership deal. In actuality, however, when looked at in detail, the deal reads more like a one-sided agreement, where only one country benefits and the other suffers.

For example, under the new plan, Pakistani nationals with no legal right to remain in the UK, including criminals, failed asylum seekers and immigration offenders, will reportedly be removed. The crimes specified are of a wide category, ranging from sexual abuse and paedophilia to bailable offences. There is a world of a difference between a student who overstayed illegally after their visa expired, and a charged sex offender, but under this new plan, it appears they will be treated the same. What is worse is that judging from history, the UK has consistently and selfishly refused to share information about offenders, their offences and the risks these individuals will pose inside Pakistan. The lack of information sharing will lead to a situation where the convicts being returned would not be able to be held under Pakistan law and no restrictions can be imposed on them by Pakistani authorities. This allows for cases to occur like those of Sohail Ayaz—a convicted paedophile in the UK who was released in Pakistan and went on to commit further crimes.

Pakistan has demanded an extradition treaty with the UK for years. However, on the surface of it, this looks far from that—and more of a dumping of convicts, who may have never even lived in Pakistan, onto Pakistan just because the UK does not want to deal with them. It appears to be in line with an increasingly xenophobic approach of UK politicians after Brexit of isolating people of colour and foreign elements from the UK’s diverse society. It is hoped that Pakistan shall aim to negotiate this plan to obtain at least some benefits out of this plan—reciprocity is something we must expect in all diplomatic relationships.