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Home Politics Pakistan Decides to Deport Illegal Foreigners, Afghan Refugees Face November 1 Deadline

Pakistan Decides to Deport Illegal Foreigners, Afghan Refugees Face November 1 Deadline

Sources indicate that only Afghan refugees possessing valid proof of registration card will be eligible to continue their residence in Pakistan.

by TNN Editor - 04 Oct, 2023 1527
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Khalida Niaz

In a significant development, the Pakistani government has taken a decisive step to deport all foreigners residing illegally in the country.

Following a meeting of the Apex Committee, the caretaker Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti, announced during a press conference that illegal foreign residents in Pakistan have been granted a deadline until November 1 to voluntarily return to their home countries. After this cutoff date, those who remain will face deportation.

Sources indicate that only Afghan refugees possessing valid proof of registration card will be eligible to continue their residence in Pakistan. Furthermore, Afghan citizens holding regular legal visas will also retain their ability to travel to and stay in Pakistan.

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Caretaker Interior Minister Bugti disclosed that there are an estimated 4.4 million Afghan citizens currently residing in Pakistan. Out of this population, 1.4 million possess valid proof of registration, while 850,000 hold Afghan citizen cards. Alarmingly, over 1.7 million Afghans are residing in Pakistan without proper registration.

The government's decision to deport illegal Afghan residents has elicited a strong reaction from the Afghan community in Pakistan. An anonymous Afghan resident voiced concerns over the perceived inhumanity of the decision, emphasizing that millions of Afghans fled their homeland following the Taliban's return to power. Many sought refuge in Pakistan, while others embarked on journeys to Europe and other countries. The resident argued that most Afghan refugees entered Pakistan illegally, often resorting to bribery at border crossings. Despite these hardships, the sudden prospect of deportation has left them feeling abandoned.

He called upon the Pakistani government to engage with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to find a peaceful resolution to the issue. While acknowledging Pakistan's challenging economic conditions and rising inflation, he stressed that deporting Afghans in this manner would not provide a solution to the problem. Instead, he suggested that treating Afghan residents with compassion and respect could turn them into positive ambassadors for Pakistan.

The anonymous Afghan resident argued that Afghans pose no threat to Pakistan and came seeking safety and protection. He suggested that, if necessary, the government should provide a reasonable one-year timeframe for individuals to prepare for their departure.

However, the situation is further complicated by confirmed reports of Afghan terrorists' involvement in recent acts of terrorism in Pakistan. Official sources have linked Afghan terrorists to illegal activities within Pakistan, specifically highlighting their role in recent terrorist incidents across the country.

According to these sources, 14 out of 24 suicide bombers in Pakistan over the past few months were of Afghan origin. Notably, five members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan were identified in the May 12, 2023 attack in Muslim Bagh.

Furthermore, three of the five Afghan terrorists involved in the terrorist attack on Zhob Cantt on July 12, 2023, were confirmed. The suicide bombers responsible for the attack on Police Lines Peshawar on January 30, 2023, and the attack in Hangu on September 29, 2023, were also traced back to Afghanistan.