Govt to deport 1.1m illegal ‘aliens’, Afghan nationals living in Pakistan

Plan in place to evict illegally residing Afghan citizens as this lot is involved in funding, facilitating and smuggling terrorists

October 02, 2023
People gather as they wait to cross at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, on August 12, 2021. — AFP

The caretaker government on Monday announced its decision to deport 1.1 million illegal foreigners living in Pakistan.

As per details, the eviction of "aliens" will be carried out in three phases with illegal residents being expelled from the country in the first phase.

Meanwhile, the second and third phases will see the deportation of those possessing Afghan citizenship and proof of residence cards respectively.

“Illegally resident foreigners pose a serious threat to the security of Pakistan,” said a source privy to the development, adding that the plan for eviction of illegally residing Afghan citizens has also been approved as this lot is involved in funding, facilitating and smuggling terrorists whereas 700,000 Afghans have not renewed their proof of residence in Pakistan.

It has been informed that in the first phase, illegal residents will be deported

The Ministry of Interior has prepared a plan in consultation with the stakeholders and the Afghan government.

In the meantime, the ministry has also issued directives to the concerned to compile a record of Afghans living without permits and prepare a transportation plan to bring them to the Afghan border.

Apart from checking the records of all the Afghans residing in the country, officials concerned were directed to quickly deal with the applications filed regarding the registration of Afghans.

Last week Geo News reported that the government would "soon" announce a one-month deadline for all illegal foreign immigrants, including Afghans, to leave the country or face the music.

After the one-month deadline, a major countrywide crackdown will be launched by the law-enforcement agencies to identify and deport such illegal immigrants, the vast majority of whom are said to be Afghans.

The decision at the highest level has already been taken not to let Pakistan become a haven for illegal immigrants, many of whom are not only involved in criminal activities but are also part of the smuggling mafia, the source added.

It is said the authorities have already arrested many illegal Afghan immigrants who were doing illegal dollar trade at the cost of the country’s economy. A large number of such illegal foreign nationals are also doing different businesses in several major cities including the federal capital. The surge in street crime in Islamabad is also linked with the influx of illegal Afghans.

There are said to be around 1.1 million Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan illegally.

It is said as many as 400,000 Afghans entered Pakistan illegally since the return of the Afghan Taliban to Afghanistan in August 2021. There are another 700,000 Afghans identified who have been living in the country illegally.