UK-born murderer to be deported after renouncing British citizenship

A key tenet of UK deportation law is that British nationals cannot be deported: section 3(5) of the Immigration Act 1971.

And yet, Sajid Zulfiqar, a man born British in the UK, will, barring any further appeals, be deported to the land of his fathers: Zulfiqar (‘Foreign criminal’ : British citizen) Pakistan [2020] UKUT 312 (IAC).

Mr Zulfiqar is a sympathy free zone. He was convicted of murder in 2004, having beaten a man to death in the street with two others. He got 15 years, and it was not his first brush with the law.

As a holder of Pakistani (as well as British) nationality, he attempted to get himself “repatriated” to Pakistan to serve out his time, closer to his father, who was unwell.

His application under the UK-Pakistan Prisoner Transfer Agreement was refused by the UK authorities because of his British nationality. The concern was that he would be able to return to the UK “without sanction or supervision” after serving his time in Pakistan, which was “not in the public interest”.

Mr Zulfiqar successfully applied to renounce his British citizenship in August 2011. But he was refused repatriation anyway, and remained in prison in the UK. Deportation proceedings were brought against him as a Pakistani citizen in 2018.

Unlike a prison transfer, a deportation order prevents the person subject to it from returning to the UK in future. That seems not to be what Mr Zulfiqar had in mind.

Ultimately the tribunal found that the decision of the First-tier judge did not contain a material error of law, and dismissed Mr Zulfiqar’s appeal.

What is the proper weight that should be accorded to a person’s integration, where they have been born and raised in the UK as a British citizen — in this case for 32 years?

Immense, one would have thought, and not significantly reducible by a temporary desire to relocate to another country for a short period of time, as appears to be suggested here.

Although one may find it difficult to find any sympathy for the appellant here, this seems to be another such case.

Posted on Nov 23, 2020.

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