Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomepakistanPakistan announces big crackdown on its illegal migrants, including 1.7 million Afghans

Pakistan announces big crackdown on its illegal migrants, including 1.7 million Afghans

Pakistan’s government announced a major crackdown Tuesday on migrants in the country illegally, saying it would expel them starting next month and raising alarm among foreigners without documentation who include an estimated 1.7 million Afghans.

The country’s caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the crackdown was not aimed at Afghans and would apply to all nationalities, though the vast majority of migrants in the country are Afghans.

The campaign comes amid strained relations between Pakistan and neighboring, Taliban-led Afghanistan over what the Pakistani government says are attacks in Pakistan by Taliban-allied militants who go back and forth across the countries’ shared 1,622-mile border and who find shelter in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials say that Pakistan’s government is targeting Afghan refugees regardless of whether they have documentation to be in the country.

The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad said on X that Pakistani counter-terror police have arrested about 1,000 Afghan refugees in the last two weeks, and that about half of them had travel or immigration documents. It urged Pakistan to stop such operations because of their negative impact on the relationship between the two countries.

Pakistani officials have given no details of such arrests in recent weeks, nor of the charges the suspects would have faced.

Raees Khan, 47, another Afghan refugee who said he didn’t feel the need to register with Pakistani authorities, said he has lived in Peshawar since 2007 and has been working in the transportation industry. He said it would take him much longer than a month to wind down his business and move with his wife and five children.

“I have no idea what is going to happen with us after today’s warning by Pakistan. We face forced expulsion,” Khan said. “This deadline should be extended at least for six months so that we can easily return to our country,” he said.

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