The Pakistani government has initiated a process to arrest and deport illegal immigrants, a majority of whom are Afghans.
This comes after the Pakistani Interior Ministry declared a deadline—midnight of November 1—for these immigrants to leave the country voluntarily. As that deadline has now expired, authorities have started transferring undocumented people to transit centers, principally in Karachi, the country’s largest city, Radio Liberty reported.
The government had announced in early October its plans to expel approximately 1.7 million illegal aliens. The announcement led to an exodus, with over 100,000 Afghan nationals returning to their homeland via the Torkham border crossing within two weeks. The Interior Ministry later confirmed that more than 140,000 people had voluntarily left Pakistan since the October 3 order was issued.
The move has been framed by the Pakistani government as a necessary action to protect national security and integrity.
On Wednesday, following the passing of the October 31 deadline, numerous Afghans found themselves being detained and prepared for deportation.
Today, we said goodbye to 64 Afghan nationals as they began their journey back home. This action is a testament to Pakistan’s determination to repatriate any individuals residing in the country without proper documentation. pic.twitter.com/2PB9BjFKTA
— Senator Sarfraz Bugti (@PakSarfrazbugti) November 1, 2023
Along with the detainment and planned deportations, authorities have bulldozed migrant shelters, rendering many homeless.
The ruling Taliban in Afghanistan has criticized Pakistan’s decision, calling it punitive and stemming from tensions between Islamabad and Kabul. On November 1, the Taliban urged the Pakistani government to grant more time to undocumented Afghans, pointing out the logistical bottlenecks at the Pakistan-Afghan border.
Of course, the United Nations (UN) urged the Pakistani government to stop Afghan deportations to avoid a ‘human rights catastrophe.’
“We believe many of those facing deportation will be at grave risk of human rights violations if returned to Afghanistan, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, cruel and other inhuman treatment,” Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.
Thousands of Afghans in Pakistan have made their way back to Afghanistan in the last two months. But many of them, who have called Pakistan home for decades, say they have nothing to go back to, while others say they are terrified to be heading back to the Taliban government.
Another Afghan national -Rehman* – tells us he was part of the Afghan forces and left the country after he says he was beaten by members of the Taliban when they came to power.
“If I go back to Afghanistan, we face death,” he says. “Our lives are in danger. We are living here with one hope, that UNHCR might find a way.”
As we sit, Rehman’s little son curls up in his lap, flicking through his father’s phone and occasionally looking up. His daughter watches carefully from the side.
“I am worried about the future of my children. There is no way for my daughter to study because we don’t have legal documents,” he says.
“We are here without any destiny and unknown future.”
Meanwhile, in the US, illegal immigrants are able to walk freely across the southern borders due to Biden’s open border policy.
According to FOX News correspondent Bill Melugin, “DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ testimony today that there were over 600,000 known gotaways at the border in FY’23 means a population size big enough to fill college football’s four biggest stadiums – & still have 200k overflow – is known to have entered the country without apprehension.”
DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ testimony today that there were over 600,000 known gotaways at the border in FY’23 means a population size big enough to fill college football’s four biggest stadiums – & still have 200k overflow – is known to have entered the country without apprehension. pic.twitter.com/a6timu4yyo
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) October 31, 2023