Foreigners living in 65 houses in capital ‘disappear’

Lush_Green_Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Foreigners residing in 65 houses in the capital city disappeared after final notices were served on them to submit their details to the police last month.

Officials in the police told Dawn that the 65 houses were among the 303 which were under the occupation of foreigners. The tenants had refused to provide their details to the police by March 15. The police collected the details about the tenants of 238 houses but found the 65 residences vacant when approached after the expiry of the deadline.There is no clue to the whereabouts of the foreigners who lived in the 65 houses. Either they moved to other localities in the capital or left the city or even the country, the officials said. When the owners of the houses were approached by the police, they just said the foreigners no longer lived there.

“As we have no details about the foreigners, including their names and nationalities or passport numbers, it is impossible to trace their whereabouts,” a police officer said, requesting anonymity. Similarly, he added, the reason behind their stay in the capital without disclosing their identity was also not known.

“Such mysterious disappearances rose suspicions about the tenants and there is a possibility that they might have been involved in anti-state activities or other practices,” the officer said.

He was of the view that the immigration department may be asked to check how many foreigners had left Islamabad during the last two months. But such a practice may also not confirm that those who left the country were the foreigners who lived in the 65 houses in Islamabad.

The inspector general of the capital police, Khalid Khattak, could not be contacted for comments. According to a household survey conducted in February 2014, foreigners living in 430 houses refused to give their details to the police.

The police later again conducted a survey and collected the details of the residents of 127 houses.

In March this year, final notices were served on the foreigners on the directions of the ministry of interior. The foreigners were told that if they did not provide their details to the police within the deadline of March 15, the exit and entry of the houses would be blocked.

The officials said out of the 430 houses, the police received the details of foreigners residing in 209 houses from the Foreign Office. While collecting the details of the foreigners in 166 houses, the police found 65 houses empty.

Most of the houses were under the use of embassies and diplomats, European Union and the United Nations.

The officials said 118 houses were under the use of Americans followed by 32 by Chinese nationals, 13 each by foreigners from Australia, England, 10 from Saudi Arabia, eight from Germany, seven from Japan, five from European Union and India, four from Belgium, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Oman. -DN

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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