Pakistan FO responds over Afghan government allegations of refugees forceful eviction

Pakistan FO responds over Afghan government allegations of refugees forceful eviction

Pakistan has categorically stated that the ongoing operation against illegal immigrants is not targeted against any particular nationality.

Responding to questions at her weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the ongoing action envisages repatriation of individuals who have either overstayed their visas or do not have the valid documents to stay.

She said Pakistan is all within parameters of its sovereign domestic laws to take action in this context.

She clarified this operation has nothing to do with 1.4 million Afghan refugees that Pakistan has been hosting since decades with exemplary generosity and hospitality despite its own constrained economic situation.

The spokesperson said Pakistan's national policy on Afghan refugees remains unchanged and their safe and honorable repatriation is a separate matter on which it continues to engage with Afghanistan to create conducive environment for their safe return.

Refuting media reports that Pakistan has closed transit trade with Afghanistan, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pak-Afghan bilateral trade continued but Pakistan will not accept the misuse of existing trade facilities. She said any measures taken recently or in future will be in accordance with this understanding.

To a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan has very clearly articulated its concerns over the use of Afghan soil for terrorism. He said Islamabad while believing in diplomacy and dialogue continues engagement with Kabul to fight the threat.

To another question about a report published in international media regarding India's anti-Pakistan propaganda, the spokesperson said there is irrefutable evidence of India's involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan but it continues to blame Pakistan for this on fictitious grounds.

She said as Pakistani team is in India for ICC cricket world cup, it is responsibility of the host country to provide foolproof security and conducive environment to the team.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan has a clear stance that sports should not be mingled with politics and the Pakistani team is in India, not for a bilateral series but an international tournament.