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Sunday March 03, 2024

Govt 'forbids' Afghans from funding electoral, political activities

Those found in violation of government's directives will face "forced" expulsions, warns interior ministry

By Web Desk
November 27, 2023
Afghan refugees stand in a queue while waiting to receive food from a local charity at a makeshift camp upon their arrival from Pakistan, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan Torkham border in Nangarhar province on November 12, 2023. — AFP
Afghan refugees stand in a queue while waiting to receive food from a local charity at a makeshift camp upon their arrival from Pakistan, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan Torkham border in Nangarhar province on November 12, 2023. — AFP

In a bid to further tighten the noose around 'aliens', the Ministry of Interior Monday announced that all Afghan citizens who are residing in Pakistan are barred from funding electoral and political activities ahead of the general elections slated for February 8 next year.

The development comes amid the caretaker government's initiative, based on security concerns, to repatriate millions of illegal aliens living in the country — the majority of whom are Afghan citizens.

The government's nationwide expulsion campaign comes following the revelation that Afghan citizens were involved in crimes, smuggling, and 14 suicide bombings out of 24 this year, alleging that the militants use Afghan soil to train fighters and plan attacks inside Pakistan.

Of the more than four million Afghans living in Pakistan, the government estimates 1.7 million are undocumented with many fleeing their war-torn country during its decades of internal conflict since the late 1970s, while the Taliban takeover after the US withdrawal in 2021 led to another exodus.

Despite the government maintaining that its policy doesn't target Afghans specifically and is aimed to expel "all" illegal aliens regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, various human rights organisations have raised concerns about Islamabad's policy decision — with the UN stressing on "voluntary" return

Several Pakistani politicos have also moved the country's Supreme Court seeking the judiciary's intervention against the caretaker government's move to deport illegal foreign nationals, including Afghans.

The Ministry of Interior in a statement, has also said that all illegal as well as "legal" Afghans living in Pakistan will be prohibited from funding any political and electoral activities — including providing funds to any candidate — in the upcoming polls.

Those found in violation of the government directive will face "forces expulsions", the ministry warned.

"Any Afghan citizen involved in such activities will be deported regardless of his or her legal status in Pakistan."

Furthermore, the ministry has cautioned Pakistani citizens to abstain from "employing illegal aliens or assisting such individuals in obtaining employment".

Additionally, the government has also asked citizens to report illegal aliens and those employing them to the helpline available on the ministry's website.