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Pakistan’s Controversial Move: Afghan Asylum Seekers Forced to Leave, Sparking Outrage

Pakistan’s Controversial Move: Afghan Asylum Seekers Forced to Leave, Sparking Outrage

Pakistan’s government has ordered all unauthorized Afghan asylum seekers to leave the country by November, sparking concerns about the welfare and rights of these individuals.

Pakistan’s recent order for unauthorized Afghan asylum seekers to leave the country by November has raised significant concerns about the well-being and rights of these individuals. With an estimated 1.7 million people affected by this order, it is crucial to consider the implications of such a decision.

The order comes in the wake of a spike in militant attacks along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has heightened tensions between the two countries. Pakistan has blamed these attacks on Afghanistan-based operatives, an allegation denied by the Taliban regime. However, these accusations have fueled resentment in Islamabad and led to the crackdown on “illegal” migrants.

While the right to seek refuge in a foreign country is enshrined in international law, Pakistan has taken in hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, particularly since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in 2021. According to the UN, around 1.3 million Afghans are registered as refugees, and another 880,000 have received legal status to remain in Pakistan. However, the government claims that another 1.7 million people are in the country “illegally,” referring to those who have not yet gained refugee status.

The Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sarfraz Bugti, stated that these individuals must leave the country by the end of the month, either voluntarily or through forced deportation. He did not provide further details on how this operation would be carried out. Additionally, a task force has been established to identify and confiscate the private businesses and assets of “illegal” Afghans in the country.

In response to the order, Afghan officials in Pakistan have reported that local authorities have already started rounding up Afghans, regardless of their legal status. The Afghan embassy stated that over 1,000 Afghans have been detained in the past two weeks alone.

It is essential to consider the humanitarian implications of this order. Many of these Afghan asylum seekers may have fled their country due to conflict, persecution, or other dire circumstances. Forced deportation or detention can have severe consequences for their safety and well-being. Furthermore, the confiscation of businesses and assets may exacerbate their vulnerability and further marginalize them.

The situation is particularly concerning given the ongoing security challenges in the region. Balochistan province, near the border, has frequently been targeted by armed groups such as the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic State. The recent announcement by Minister Bugti revealed that there have been 24 suicide bombings along Pakistan’s border since January, with over half attributed to militants operating from Afghanistan.

Pakistan has also announced tighter restrictions on Afghans entering the country from November 1st, allowing only visitors with visas and passports to enter. This change disrupts the longstanding practice of Afghans using their national identity cards as travel documents. However, the process of obtaining visas and passports has become lengthy, resulting in a significant backlog of Afghans seeking entry into Pakistan.

In conclusion, Pakistan’s order for unauthorized Afghan asylum seekers to leave the country by November raises serious concerns about their welfare and rights. The forced deportation or detention of these individuals, as well as the confiscation of their businesses and assets, can have severe humanitarian consequences. It is crucial for the international community to monitor the situation closely and advocate for the protection of the rights and well-being of these vulnerable individuals.

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