close
Tuesday June 18, 2024

New border crossings open to step up repatriation of illegal immigrants

By News Report
November 14, 2023
Afghan refugees climb a truck as they prepare to depart for Afghanistan, at a holding center in Landi Kotal, Pakistan, November 1, 2023. — AFP
Afghan refugees climb a truck as they prepare to depart for Afghanistan, at a holding center in Landi Kotal, Pakistan, November 1, 2023. — AFP

QUETTA: In order to step up the repatriation of illegal immigrants including undocumented Afghans, the authorities on Monday opened three new border crossings in Balochistan.

Interim Information Minister of Balohictan Jan Achakzai said new crossings were set up at the Afghan border in the province in addition to the main crossing in Chaman district, Reuters reported.

The repatriation of illegal foreign nationals including Afghans to their homeland is continuing and thousands of Afghan nationals are returning to Afghanistan via the Torkham and Chaman borders on a daily basis.

In addition to other measures for the dignified return of Afghans to their country, transit camps equipped with all facilities have also been established in various districts for their temporary accommodation.

Many Afghans have opted to go home voluntarily to avoid deportation under a government push for undocumented migrants to be expelled.

Pakistan’s move affects more than 1 million Afghans, many of whom Islamabad says have been involved in militant attacks and crime.

The main crossing had been overwhelmed with Afghan refugees seeking to return home voluntarily, he said.

More than 280,000 Afghan nationals have left Pakistan since the new policy was announced in early October, according to the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR).

Islamabad has begun round-up operations across the country after the deadline for voluntary departure expired on November 1.

Pakistan has so far rejected calls from the United Nations, rights groups, and Western embassies to reconsider its expulsion plan or to identify and protect Afghans who risk persecution at home. Kabul has also asked Islamabad to give Afghan nationals ample time to leave.

The expulsion drive has driven relations between the neighbours to a new low, with Islamabad reiterating its claim that militants use Afghan soil to plan and carry out attacks in Pakistan.

The mass migration has also raised fears of a humanitarian crisis as Kabul grapples with hundreds of thousands of people arriving and staying in makeshift tent villages on its side of the border at the onset of winter.