Two Pakistani men labeled security threats set to be deported within three weeks

TORONTO—Two Pakistani men labeled security threats to Canada are to be deported within three weeks, federal officials disclosed at hearings held in Toronto on Monday.

Jahanzeb Malik and Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari will be flown to Islamabad between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. For security reasons, the Canada Border Services Agency did not reveal the exact date.

“The flight is booked,” Jessica Lourenco, a CBSA official, said at a detention hearing for Ansari, an alleged member of the terrorist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. “He’s leaving Canada within the next few weeks.”

Malik, who was caught in an RCMP undercover operation plotting a suicide bombing in downtown Toronto, was told he would also return to Pakistan between the same dates.

Immigration and Refugee Board Canada

It was unclear whether the Pakistani government had approved the deportations. Canada delayed the deportations three months ago at Pakistan’s request, setting off a flurry of diplomacy.

Canadian and Pakistani diplomats met four times in Ottawa and Islamabad in August, and twice more on Sept. 4 and 8. Pakistan is reluctant to take the pair back due to the risks they might pose.

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At his hearing, Ansari told the Immigration and Refugee Board the Pakistani vice-consul in Toronto told him on Friday her government had not agreed to his deportation. The Pakistani high commission in Ottawa declined to comment on the cases.

But IRB Member Karina Henrique told Ansari that Canada did not need Pakistani’s permission to deport him. The delay was only a “common courtesy” extended to Pakistan at the diplomatic level.

“Your country has an obligation to take you back,” she said. She ordered him to remain in custody until his removal date. He has been held at the Lindsay, Ont. prison since his arrest 11 months ago.

The IRB also ordered Malik to remain in detention on the grounds he is a flight risk and a danger to the public. He will likely be deported under CBSA escort on the same flights as Ansari.

The government said Monday that Malik’s claim that he would be at risk in Pakistan had been rejected. Malik had expressed fears of returning to his home country after two FBI officers visited him at the Lindsay prison.

Both Malik and Ansari are Pakistani citizens who lived in Toronto as landed immigrants until their arrests. Arrested days after last October’s terrorist attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Ansari was ordered deported for terrorism in May.

Malik, who had allegedly trained with Al Qaeda in Libya, was arrested in March after trying to radicalize and recruit an undercover RCMP officer for a suicide bombing. He had named Toronto’s financial district and the United States consulate as possible targets. The IRB ordered his deportation in June.

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