Last Updated: October 27, 2023, 13:48 IST
In view of Pakistan’s deadline for deportation of all Afghani nationals living illegally in the country, the Afghanistan government has established a high commission led by Maulavi Abdul Salam Hanafi, the deputy prime minister for administrative affairs, along with 31 high-ranking officials, to resolve the problems of the refugees.
The Pakistan government has ordered that all Afghani nationals living in Pakistan illegally must leave the country by November 1, after which they will be forcefully sent back home by the authorities — an order the Taliban government has called “inhuman” and “amounting to harassment”.
While around 1.3 million Afghans are registered refugees in Pakistan and 880,000 more have legal status to remain, caretaker interior minister Sarfraz Bugti has alleged that a further 1.7 million Afghans are in Pakistan illegally. Almost 1 million of these refugees will be deported in the first phase, sources told CNN-News18 earlier.
PREP MODE: TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION TO HEALTH SERVICES
The communication issued by Afghan government spokesman Zabiullah Mujjahid assured Afghans who have gone to foreign countries due to some concerns that they “can return and live a dignified life in their country”.
In order to provide basic services to the returnees, a procedure has been approved in eight chapters and 31 articles, and a secretariat and 12 committees have been formed to implement this procedure.
These committees are assigned the responsibilities of providing temporary accommodations to migrants, identification, transfer, basic and health services, and in line with a specific procedure, necessary facilities will be provided to businessmen and industrialists.
The Pakistani government said on Thursday it would open several “holding centres”. The Pakistani and Afghan government officials on Tuesday discussed border management issues as well as the smooth evacuation. Jan Achakzai, the Balochistan caretaker information minister, said Pakistani border management officials and representatives from the Taliban Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the meeting discussed the provision of facilities to Afghans crossing the border, including patients, and also the smooth and organised evacuation of illegal Afghan refugees.
“There was also a strong emphasis on the challenges faced by patients at the border,” Achakzai said.
“Thousands of Afghan refugee families have already crossed over to Afghanistan via the Chaman border,” said Achakzai, adding that there was a daily outflow of hundreds of illegal refugees.
IMPACT ON TIES
The move is expected to widen the rift between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The order comes as Pakistan grapples with a rise in attacks the government blames on militants operating from Afghanistan, a charge Kabul has routinely denied. There is also a rising anti-Afghan sentiment as a prolonged economic hardship burdens the Pakistani state. Recently, the Afghanistan cricket team dedicated their victory against Pakistan to Afghan refugees.
CNN-News18 has earlier reported on how Pakistan has been handling Afghan refugees and how the one document policy will be implemented for Afghans.
Pakistan is not a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. It governs the entry and presence of refugees under the country’s Foreigner’s Act, which allows authorities to apprehend, detain, and expel foreigners, including refugees and asylum-seekers lacking proper documentation.
The Afghanistan government recently raised serious questions about the security of its people in Pakistan after a video on social media showed an Afghan national being beaten up by Punjab province police.
With Agency Inputs