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Business News/ News / World/  Pakistan to deport illegal immigrants from November 2, rights groups warn of ‘humanitarian crisis’
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Pakistan to deport illegal immigrants from November 2, rights groups warn of ‘humanitarian crisis’

Pakistan has clarified that no refugee but only illegal immigrants will be deported from Pakistan from Thursday, November 2

Afghan citizens wait with their belongings to cross into Afghanistan, after Pakistan gives the last warning to undocumented immigrants to leave (REUTERS)Premium
Afghan citizens wait with their belongings to cross into Afghanistan, after Pakistan gives the last warning to undocumented immigrants to leave (REUTERS)

Pakistan will begin a crackdown on the “undocumented" immigrants, including thousands from neighbouring Afghanistan, from Thursday, November 2, the caretaker government said on Tuesday, prompting the rights groups to warn of a “humanitarian crisis". While announcing the plans to deport undocumented immigrants from the country, Islamabad said Afghan nationals had been behind 14 suicide attacks, smuggling and crimes in its territory.

Kabul has, however, dismissed the allegations as rights groups asked Pakistan to reconsider its decision.

In a video statement, caretaker interior minister Sarfraz Bugti said, "Only two days are left for a voluntary return," but they will be assisted at the temporary camps set up by the government. "We will try to provide them food and health facilities for two to three days," he said.

The minister has clarified that no refugee but only illegal immigrants will be deported from Pakistan.

Also Read: Afghan diaspora is losing hope of returning home after Taliban takeover

"We are not deporting any refugees. Only those who are completely illegal will leave Pakistan," he said. The operation would be "lengthy and gradual," he added without going into further details on the time frame.

The interior ministry has informed that Pakistan is home to more than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, about 1.7 million of them undocumented.

RIGHTS GROUPS WARN OF ‘HUMANITARIAN CRISIS’

Pakistan’s decision to deport the illegal immigrants has drawn flak from various local and international groups, including the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan. Western embassies and the United Nations have urged Pakistan to identify and protect Afghans at risk of persecution at home.

“Amnesty International strongly reiterates its call to the Government of Pakistan to immediately reverse its decision to forcibly deport unregistered Afghan refugees ahead of the deadline set for tomorrow," the group said in a statement.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), a leading rights group, has called on the government to retract its decision which could trigger a “humanitarian crisis".

“The decision amounts to forced repatriation, which is not recognised under international customary law, and will invariably affect vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, which include women, children, the elderly, persons living with disabilities, persons from low-income groups, and Afghans at risk because of their professions — many of whom fled Afghanistan after the Afghan Taliban took over the government in August 2021," the letter to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 01 Nov 2023, 09:52 AM IST
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