Saturday, May 25, 2024

Deadline extended for Afghan refugees in Pakistan; overstay fines set at $100 per month

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmatihttps://www.khaama.com
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati
People protested against the deportation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan at a rally by the Women’s Movement ‘Aurat March’ in Lahore on November 18, 2023. (Photo by Arif ALI / AFP)

The caretaker federal cabinet of Pakistan extended the deadline for the repatriation of Afghan nationals without proper documentation to February 29, 2024, on Wednesday. This extension aims to aid those waiting to relocate to Western countries under their respective resettlement plans.

Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, at a press conference in Islamabad, announced the deadline extension from the initial date of December 31, according to Dawn.

The decision aims to encourage Afghan nationals to either obtain legal documents or finalize evacuation arrangements to a third country as soon as possible.

New regulations state that Afghan nationals lacking legal documents or processing fees and planning to leave for a third country will be fined $400 for overstaying, reduced from the previous $800.

Post-deadline, overstaying Afghan nationals will incur a fine of $100 per month, with a maximum limit of $800.

The Pakistani federal cabinet was briefed that approximately 450,000 Afghan nationals have returned to Afghanistan, with the majority doing so voluntarily. This return to their native country marks a significant movement of people in the region.

However, Following the October 2023 deadline set by the Pakistani government for Afghan refugees to leave, nearly half a million Afghans were deported from Pakistan. This large-scale deportation occurred amidst substantial criticism from both national and international human rights organizations.

The United Nations has highlighted that most of the repatriated Afghans are in a vulnerable state. These individuals now face the challenge of rebuilding their lives without adequate shelter.

The situation is further exacerbated by the harsh winter conditions in Afghanistan, posing additional hardships for the recently returned Afghan population struggling to find suitable living conditions in their homeland.

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