Pakistan government takes important decision over future of Illegal Afghan Immigrants
In a significant policy decision, Pakistan has opted to repatriate all unauthorized Afghan refugees, a move influenced by the ongoing tensions between the two nations. According to official sources, the interim federal cabinet has endorsed this decision, aiming to send back approximately 1.1 million Afghan refugees residing illegally in Pakistan.
However, there hasn't been any official confirmation from the interim government, and Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti is yet to comment on the matter when approached. The sources also revealed that around 400,000 Afghans entered Pakistan illegally following the Afghan Taliban's return to Afghanistan in August 2021.
Additionally, another 700,000 Afghans have been identified as residing illegally in the country. The cabinet has granted authorization to prepare for the repatriation of all these Afghan nationals to their home country. It's worth noting that these 1.1 million Afghan refugees lack valid visas or documents permitting their stay in Pakistan.
Furthermore, authorities claim that many of these unauthorized refugees have been involved in activities detrimental to the state, which is why their swift repatriation is deemed necessary. The Afghan Taliban government has been informed of Pakistan's decision, and it's important to mention that Islamabad has hosted millions of refugees for decades, including a substantial Afghan refugee population.
The recent crackdown on illegal Afghan refugees comes amid rising tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly concerning the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Some analysts speculate that Pakistan's intensified efforts against unauthorized Afghan refugees may be connected to the Afghan Taliban's reluctance to take action against the TTP.
Despite Pakistan's repeated requests, the Afghan Taliban have been hesitant to confront the TTP. A Pakistani delegation recently visited Kabul to urge the Taliban government to address the TTP threat, but skepticism remains, given the Taliban's previous unfulfilled commitments.
Pakistan's move to repatriate illegal Afghan refugees is likely to evoke responses from the Afghan Taliban government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as it contradicts the policy of forced refugee repatriation.