Germany carried out a deportation flight to Pakistan leaving from Frankfurt. It is the first of its kind since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The daily German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung said it received confirmation from federal police authorities working at Frankfurt International Airport that 19 Pakistani nationals had been deported to Islamabad on Tuesday, July 14. The majority of the deportees had reportedly been living in the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
The aircraft carrying the failed asylum seekers had initially been chartered from Athens, from where it brought ten Pakistani nationals who were deported from Greece.
Unlike other EU countries, Germany never announced an official stop to deportation flights during COVID-19, but said it would temporarily halt so-called Dublin transfers for the duration of the pandemic. Under that scenario, refugees and migrants are returned to the first country within the EU in which they registered as asylum seekers.
The overall number of deportations from Germany has still plummeted since the outbreak reached Germany in late February, as flights were cancelled for many weeks and many countries shut their borders to curb the potential of infected individuals entering their territory.Controversial practise
The practice of returning failed asylum seekers to their home countries is a controversial issue in Germany, with opponents often staging protests when they know of such collective deportation flights in advance.
The issue is even more divisive as the majority of deportations from Germany return people to Afghanistan, which in parts is considered by the German government a safe country of origin despite the fact that terrorism, insurgencies and political instability continue to cost lives, pushing Afghans further into opting for migration.