Karachi, 1 November, 2023 (GNP): As the deadline for unauthorized migrants to leave Pakistan has passed, authorities are taking measures to ensure compliance. Migrants lacking proper documentation in various regions of the country are being detained and transferred to temporary facilities before repatriation to their home countries.
On Tuesday, Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti announced that a government operation against undocumented immigrants, primarily affecting hundreds of thousands of Afghan citizens, will commence on Thursday, November 2. The minister emphasized that the voluntary return deadline was set for November 1, ending on Wednesday.
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
Pakistan is home to more than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, with approximately 1.7 million lacking proper documentation, including those born in Pakistan. The recent announcement by Islamabad is driven by concerns related to their alleged involvement in crimes, smuggling, and their association with several incidents, including 14 out of 24 suicide bombings this year.
In Karachi, authorities apprehended four illegal Afghan immigrants in the Saddar area, and they are being transferred to a holding center for eventual repatriation to Afghanistan after legal procedures are completed. A substantial police presence has been deployed in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area, where loudspeakers have been urging undocumented immigrants to return to their home country by midnight.
Similar operations are underway in other regions, including Chaman, where undocumented Afghan migrant families are being taken to holding centers for further processing. It has been reported that approximately five thousand illegal Afghan refugees have already been relocated to these holding centers.
The Pakistani authorities have launched a nationwide crackdown on illegal foreign residents, particularly Afghans, following the October 31 deadline for them to leave the country, which lapsed at midnight. Thousands of Afghans are returning to their homeland daily from the Torkham and Chaman borders.