Europe will return tens of thousands of illegal Pakistani migrants, according to Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for Migration, Home affairs and Citizenship, who made the announcement in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

The ostensible reason Avramopoulos gave for returning the illegal migrants was that Pakistan functions under a “democratic process,” unlike Syria and Afghanistan, which are riven with strife and whose governments have no democratic process. Avramopoulos said:

Pakistanis will not qualify as political refugees. Pakistan is under a democratic process. … It is not a country where its citizens are persecuted, and great progress has been done by authorities in Pakistan in order to pave a democratic perspective for their country.

Officials claim that less than 20 percent of Pakistani illegal migrants are granted asylum in Europe; Eurostat alleges that 168,000 illegal Pakistani migrants were supposed to be deported from the European Union between 2008 and 2014, but only 55,750 actually left, due to a paucity of flights, bureaucratic delays, and lack of enforcement. European Union nations signed an accord with Islamabad in 2009 allowing Europe to repatriate illegal Pakistani migrants.

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