Pakistanis among top six asylum seekers in EU: report thumbnail

Pakistanis among top six asylum seekers in EU: report

Pakistan is the sixth most important country of origin for asylum applications to the EU, a new report has said.

Over 26,500 Pakistanis applied for asylum in 2019 and almost 12,000 did from January to September 2020, said the European Asylum Support Office report. During this time period, militant attacks on minorities have continued, said the report compiled  by the European Asylum Support Office or EASO for the last three months of 2020 and the first seven months of 2021.

It said Pakistan suffered a significant increase in “targeted killings, blasphemy cases, forced conversions and hate speech targeting religious minorities, including Ahmadis, Shias, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs”.

The Country of Origin Information (COI) Report was issued on October 27 and is titled ‘Pakistan security situation report (October 2021)’ . It is an update to the previous EASO COI Report “Pakistan – Security Situation” published in October 2020.

During the period under study, several armed militant groups, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan and Haqqani Network have been reportedly present in Pakistan and continued to carry out attacks in the country.

Militant groups continued to attack religious minorities in the country, the EASO report stated. 

In 2020, Pakistan’s security forces carried out 47 raids against militants. During the same period, security operations and armed clashes were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. These operations resulted in the killing of 146 people, including 129 militants and 17 security personnel.  

In 2020 and during the first half of 2021, 344 Pakistanis were killed reportedly as a result of violence, the report said.

However, compared to the same period in 2019, the number of Pakistani asylum applications between January and September 2020 decreased by 37% because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of September 2020, close to 19,200 Pakistani cases were awaiting a first-instance decision, down from almost 21,200 cases at the end of 2019. The recognition rate for Pakistani nationals has been relatively low, with just 8% receiving some form of EU-regulated protection between January and September 2020, down from 10% during the same period in 2019. 

The security situation in Pakistan has been influenced by both internal and external security issues. The main internal security challenges consist of political and economic instability, ethnic and sectarian conflicts, religious extremism and militancy; while external security challenges are linked to the relationship of Pakistan with neighbouring countries, especially Afghanistan and India.

The report is divided in two parts: the first part provides a general description on the security situation in Pakistan; the second part explains the security situation per province in more detail, including information on population, background of the conflict, actors active, as well as quantitative and qualitative information on recent security trends and the impact of violence on the civilian population.

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