§ Mr. Madden
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who instructed the immigration and nationality department to resolve applications for political asylum from those believed to be members of, or to have links with, the Pakistan People's party, without interview; when the instruction was issued; how many applicants, to date, have had their applications resolved without interview; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
[holding answer 28 November 1989]: In April my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) approved special case-working arrangements for resolving a backlog of about 900 asylum applications from Pakistani nationals. The great majority of the asylum claims were based on links with the Pakistan People's party. Following the death of President Zia in August 1988 the democratic process was reinstated in Pakistan; the Pakistan People's party participated freely in party politics at national and provincial level, and, following the elections in November 1988, became the governing party nationally. In all the circumstances it was decided that applications based solely on Pakistan People's party connections could be refused without interview. Applicants raising other matters continue to be dealt with in the normal way and would be interviewed before a refusal decision was taken. All those who are 182W refused without interview have a right of appeal, exercisable in this country, against refusal of leave or deportation.
Our statistical records do not distinguish between refusals with and without interview. It is known, however, that some 483 asylum applications from Pakistani nationals have been refused so far in 1989.