RAWALPINDI:General Syed Asim Munir, thechief of army staff (COAS), Thursday said the decision to repatriateillegal foreigners was taken in Pakistan's interest, as they were "seriously affecting" the country's security and economy.
"Decision to repatriate them [illegal foreginers] has been taken by the government in the interest of Pakistan," he was quoted as saying by theInter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement.
According to the military's media wing, the army chiefhighlighted that the illegal foreigners are being repatriated to their countries in a "humane and dignified manner" as per the established norms.
His remarks came during his visit to Peshawar where he was briefed in detail about the overall security situation, ongoing counter-terrorism operations, repatriation of illegal foreigners and socio-economic developments in the newly merged districts.
Meanwhile, the process of illegal foreigners' repatriation, largely comprised of undocumented Afghan migrants, is underway. So far, at least 2,55,029 illegal residents have returned to Afghanistan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, alone.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 2,50,814 people have left via the Torkham border, while 3,516 and 698 left through the Angor Ada and Kharlachi border crossing.
Pakistan's decision to repatriate illegal foreigners was closely linked with the increasing terror attacks in the country, especially in KP and Balochistan provinces, as well as the escalating tension between Islamabad and the Taliban’s administration in Kabul.
The ISPR added that during his visit the COAS, who was received in the city by Corps Commander Peshawar Lieutenant General Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat, also highlighted the importance of economic growth and development in the newly merged districts.
The army chief also lauded the support of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) towards security forces for ensuring stability in the province and developmental progress.
"The resolute support of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Security Forces has resulted in stability in the province and materialisation of progress on projects of socio-economic development," he remarked.
The COAS, while linking the country's prosperity with KP, emphasised that nefarious designs of the forces inimical to the peace and stability of Pakistan are being foiled through a synergetic and comprehensive strategy.
During his visit, General Asim also interacted with the officers and soldiers who have displayed gallantry actions during different counter-terrorism operations, the statement read.
He lauded their heroic and exemplary feats.
"Nation takes pride and acknowledges the accomplishments of its Armed Forces. Pakistan is destined to succeed and the Pakistan Army will continue to undertake its selfless and sacred duty of safeguarding every inch of the motherland till the last drop of blood, InshaAllah."
The army chief also had an interactive session with the participants of the First National Workshop Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (NWKP-1).