“Rajapaksa has made it clear in public rhetoric and propaganda that China is our best friend,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives. “There’s a perception that the Chinese are underpinning misgovernance and corruption in the regime.”
Sri Lanka has deported more than 80 Pakistani asylum seekers. Most of them are members of the persecuted Ahmadi community – a group that believes there was a prophet after the Prophet Muhammad, something sacrilegious to Muslims and illegal in Pakistan.
The UN’s refugee agency has sought an explanation from the Sri Lankan Government why large numbers of Pakistani asylum seekers are being arrested and detained – with local and UN officials making conflicting claims on the issue. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also warned the Government that any deportations or expulsions would be in violation of international law – a principle called “non-refoulement”, which forbids the handing over of victims of persecution to their persecutors.