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As Pakistan cracks down on unlawful migrants, almost half one million Afghans have left, minister says

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ISLAMABAD — Practically half one million Afghans who had been dwelling in Pakistan with out legitimate paperwork have returned house in simply over two months as a part of an ongoing crackdown on foreigners within the nation with out papers, the caretaker inside minister stated Friday.

The expulsions are a part of a nationwide crackdown by the federal government in Islamabad that began two months in the past. Pakistan insists the marketing campaign is just not towards Afghans particularly, although they make up many of the foreigners within the nation.

Pakistan has lengthy hosted about 1.7 million Afghans, most of whom fled in the course of the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation. As well as, greater than half one million individuals fled Afghanistan when the Taliban seized energy in August 2021, within the ultimate weeks of U.S. and NATO pullout.

At a information convention in Islamabad on Friday, caretaker Inside Minister Sarfraz Bugti stated greater than 482,000 Afghans have returned house up to now greater than two months, 90% going voluntarily. He stated Pakistan has additionally determined to deport 10 Afghans who had been within the nation legally however who had been participating in politics.

“Solely Pakistani residents are allowed to interact in political actions within the nation. Any foreigner who’s discovered concerned in any political exercise might be deported instantly,” he stated. Bugti didn’t establish the ten Afghans who’re being deported, nor did he give any particulars about their actions in Pakistan’s politics.

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Bugti stated within the ongoing first section, solely undocumented Afghans had been being deported however sooner or later each Afghan refugee must return as a result of Pakistan had already hosted them for as much as 40 years.

A lot of the Afghans didn’t attempt to get Pakistani citizenship, hoping they might not be compelled to depart the nation. The sudden change within the nation’s coverage has strained relations with Afghanistan’s Taliban-led administration, which wished Islamabad to present extra time to Afghans, a request that was not accepted by Pakistan.

Bugti’s remarks are more likely to trigger panic among the many almost 1.4 million Afghans registered as dwelling in Pakistan.

His feedback come at a time when U.S. Particular Consultant for Afghanistan Thomas West is visiting Pakistan. On Thursday, West met with Pakistan’s caretaker Overseas Minister Jalil Abbas Jillani, in line with the ministry.

In response to Pakistani officers, the 2 sides mentioned a variety of points, together with the continued drive towards undocumented Afghans. The compelled expulsion of Afghans with out documentation has drawn widespread criticism from human rights activists, U.N. officers and others, who’ve requested Pakistan to rethink the coverage.

Presently, worldwide support teams and the U.N. are offering health care and diet to these arriving in Afghanistan from Pakistan. The Taliban administration can be offering support to returnees.

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