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03/01/24 | 11:30 am

Over 500,000 Afghan immigrants repatriated so far, says Pak Interior Ministry

Over 500,000 Afghan immigrants had been sent home as a result of the government's deportation campaign against them, Pakistan's Interior Ministry told the Senate on Tuesday, according to Dawn.

All illegal immigrants were given an ultimatum by the government in October to depart Pakistan by October 31 or face incarceration and deportation to their home countries.

The caretaker administration formally launched a national drive to remove unauthorised foreign nationals, most of whom are Afghans, after the deadline passed.

Human rights organisations and Afghanistan both criticised the action, but the government stood its own and insisted that it was not directed at any one ethnic community, reported Dawn.

The interior ministry provided more details about the quantity of deportations in a written response that was sent to the Senate on Tuesday. The reply was sent in response to a query from Senator Mohsin Aziz concerning the number of deportees and undocumented immigrants living in Pakistan.

“Around 1.7 million illegal aliens are unlawfully living in the country, the majority of whom are Afghans. They are living without any legal documentation necessary for staying in the country. 541,210 people have been sent back after the cabinet's approval of the deportation plan for illegal residents,” the ministry said.
The Pakistani government's action has sparked concerns regarding the treatment and rights of these refugees in Pakistan.

Pakistani officials have continued their actions despite facing condemnation and calls to stop the forceful deportation of Afghan migrants.

Earlier, the United Nations had also called on Pakistan to halt the deportation exercise.

Meanwhile, human rights activists and journalists have reported that the mistreatment is part of a campaign to compel Afghans to leave the country. This includes night raids during which police have beaten, threatened, and detained Afghans. 

(Inputs from ANI)

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