According to Pakistani media, authorities in the country have reported that the process of deporting migrants will be carried out as previously planned. The interim government of Pakistan intends to deport approximately one million Afghan migrants by January 2024.
Geo News, a Pakistani media outlet, reported on Wednesday, citing Jan Achakzai, the Information Minister of Balochistan province, that the second phase of deporting illegal immigrants from Pakistan has commenced, and this process will continue without any retreat.
The media has reported that deporting migrants has entered its second phase, but it has not provided details about this phase.
Meanwhile, in less than two months, and predominantly in the past month, nearly 400,000 Afghan migrants have been deported from Pakistan, and according to relief agencies, 90% of these migrants lack shelter at the Torkham border crossing.
Approximately 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees are living in Pakistan, with about 1.7 million of them lacking the necessary documents for legal residence in the country. Pakistani police initiated the detention and deportation of migrants from Karachi after the specified deadline, starting from November 1 of this year, and since then, 370,000 Afghan migrants have been expelled.
Reports continue to indicate that many Afghans, fearing the situation in Afghanistan under Taliban control, have gone into hiding in Pakistan to avoid deportation.
The United Nations Refugee Agency has also urged Pakistan to halt the deportation of Afghan refugees during the winter season because, according to the agency’s spokesperson, “the cold in Afghanistan is truly deadly and can take lives.”
Reuters, quoting Babar Baloch, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has reported that the winter season threatens the lives of migrants, and Pakistan should stop the process of deporting Afghan refugees during this season.
The spokesperson for this agency has described the winter season as unsuitable for the deportation of migrants and added, “We are talking about desperate women, children, and men who are on the move and leaving Pakistan in large numbers.”