UN reacts strongly to Pakistan's deadline for eviction of 'illegal immigrants'

UN reacts strongly to Pakistan's deadline for eviction of 'illegal immigrants'

In Karachi, the United Nations expressed its opposition on Tuesday to a deadline established for the eviction of over 1 million individuals labeled as "illegal immigrants" from the country.

They emphasized that any return of refugees should be voluntary and free from coercion. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman, Qaisar Khan Afridi, conveyed concerns about the plan to deport undocumented Afghans and called for clarity from the government.

He urged Islamabad, which has generously hosted refugees for over 40 years, to establish a mechanism to prevent the deportation of Afghans with international protection. Afridi emphasized that many fleeing persecution lack the necessary documents and travel permissions.

The UNHCR expressed readiness to assist Pakistan in creating a system to manage and register those in need of international protection within its borders. While acknowledging Pakistan's long-standing role as a refugee host, Afridi stressed the need for greater efforts to match its generosity.

According to recent UN statistics, around 1.3 million Afghans are registered refugees in Pakistan, with an additional 880,000 having legal status to stay. Authorities have arrested hundreds of Afghans, with over 700 detained in Karachi alone since early September, according to police figures.