New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday agreed to allow the Pakistani nationals to stay in India till July. These Pakistanis have been under detention in Tihar jail since April 2007 for not having valid documents.

Centre's counsel submitted before Justice Mukta Gupta of the Delhi High Court that the Ministry of Home Affairs has received a letter from United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) granting these Pakistanis refugee status.        

Justice Gupta accepted the Centre's submission and fixed the matter for May 6 for further hearing.

Appearing for the Pakistanis, counsel Meenakshi Arora submitted that as per the UNHCR letter granting refugee status to these people, they are required to be released from the
jail forthwith and the government should take steps accordingly.

The counsel also submitted that UNHCR has given an assurance to look for another country where these people could be relocated.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Pakistani nationals Saifullah Bajwa and others seeking a directive to the government not to deport them but to hand them over to UNHCR which was considering their plea for refugee status.

The High Court had earlier directed the Centre not to take any action against these Pakistanis till UNHCR takes a decision.

The Pakistani nationals belonging to Gowhar Shahi sect, banned by Pakistan government, have been under detention in Tihar Jail since April 23, 2007, after they staged a demonstration demanding asylum in India on the ground that their life was at risk in Pakistan.

Agencies