Illegal Immigrants Pakistan 2023 : Pakistan has asked all undocumented immigrants, including an estimated 1.7 million Afghans, to voluntarily leave the country by November 1 or face deportation. Amid Islamabad’s claim that 14 of the 24 suicide bombings in the country this year were carried out by Afghan civilians, Pakistan Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti on Tuesday said Pakistan is committed to removing all illegal immigrants from the country. According to the minister, no deadline will be extended. He also said that action would be taken against anyone involved in helping or hiding the immigrants.
“All illegal immigrants have been identified. The state has complete data,” Mr. Bugti said, according to DW. “I want to appeal once again that all illegal immigrants should voluntarily leave by the deadline,” he said.
Who are these “Illegal Immigrants”?
In particular, according to Reuters, Pakistan is home to more than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees. Of these, approximately 1.7 million are undocumented. Afghans make up the largest share of migrants – many arrived after the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan in 2021, but a large number have been present since the 1979 Soviet invasion, the news agency reported.
Now, as cash-strapped Pakistan faces record inflation and a tough International Monetary Fund bailout program, the country’s officials accuse the country of wasting resources on decades of undocumented migrants. Islamabad has also claimed that many of the bombings in the country this year were carried out by Afghan civilians.
“There is no doubt that we have been attacked from within Afghanistan and Afghan civilians are involved in the attacks on us,” Mr Bugti told a news conference. “We have the evidence,” Mr Bugti said. “If they don’t go, … all law enforcement agencies of the provinces or the federal government will be used to deport them.” ( Illegal Immigrants Pakistan 2023 )
According to officials, illegal immigrants who are willing to leave the country voluntarily will be helped by the nation. But officials also warned that anyone found in the country illegally after Wednesday would be arrested.
Pakistan also said that the 14 lakh Afghans who are registered refugees need not worry. It denied targeting Afghan civilians and said the focus was only on those who are in the country illegally, regardless of their nationality.
Deportation Center ( Illegal Immigrants Pakistan 2023 )
According to DW, three deportation centers have been set up in southwestern Balochistan. Another three centers have also been established in the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Azam Khan, acting chief minister of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said more than 60,000 Afghans had returned home since the crackdown was announced.
Condemned Pakistan’s Action
Many diplomats and representatives have condemned Pakistan’s crackdown on immigrants. Afghanistan has called this step of Pakistan as ‘harassment’. The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement on Twitter that more than 1,000 Afghans have been detained over the past two weeks – half of them despite having the legal right to stay in Pakistan. “Despite repeated promises from Pakistani authorities, arrests and harassment of Afghan refugees by police in Pakistan continue,” it said.
Separately, a group of former US diplomats and representatives of resettlement organizations also urged Pakistan not to deport Afghans waiting for US visas under the program that resettles vulnerable refugees fleeing Taliban rule.
According to DW, the United Nations made a similar appeal, saying the action could violate human rights, including separating families.
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