National Apex Committee Committee: Several important decisions taken
The Apex Committee convened on Tuesday to address the issue of illegal refugees in Pakistan and their eventual expulsion along with the confiscation of their properties, as stipulated after the expiry of the designated return deadline. In an official statement issued by the committee, it was explicitly stated that "All illegal foreign nationals will be bound to return to their country." Furthermore, the statement asserted that "After the end of the deadline, the illegal immigrants will be evicted and their properties will be confiscated."
The committee's meeting took place in Islamabad, with caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar presiding over it. Notably, the gathering also counted Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir and members of intelligence agencies among its attendees. This decision followed closely on the heels of media reports suggesting that the federal government was preparing to repatriate 1.1 million refugees based on a summary from the interior ministry, with the process scheduled to unfold incrementally.
Over the weekend, reports emerged from Islamabad concerning an operation conducted by the Counter Terrorism Department, which had detained 800 Afghan refugees, half of whom lacked proper identification documents. In response to inquiries, Kakar clarified that not all Afghan refugees would face expulsion; rather, it would be limited to those residing without valid legal documentation.
During a post-meeting press conference, Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti disclosed that the government had set November 1 as the deadline for immigrants to depart the country. He also elaborated on the measures that would be taken following the deadline.
It's important to note that this decision to expel illegal refugees and take possession of their properties was made under the auspices of the National Action Plan. During the meeting, officials briefed the attendees on counter-terrorism strategies and vehemently condemned recent acts of terrorism, which included a devastating suicide bombing in Balochistan on 12 Rabiul Awwal that claimed the lives of at least 59 individuals and left more than 60 others injured, heightening concerns about Pakistan's security situation.
In addition to addressing the refugee issue, the Apex Committee also resolved to take action against individuals facilitating terrorists. Caretaker Prime Minister Kakar emphasized the collective commitment to a "zero-tolerance" stance against terrorists and affirmed the continuation of the ongoing counter-terrorism operation, highlighting that "terrorists are the enemies of the country and nation."