Thursday, July 25, 2024

Pakistan Govt destroys houses of Afghan refugees

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati
Afghan nationals along with their families stand along a road near a vehicle in Jamrud area of Khyber district, some 30 Km west of Peshawar on October 6, 2023, as they return to Afghanistan following Pakistan’s government decision to expel people illegally staying in the country. (Photo by Abdul MAJEED / AFP)

Afghan refugees in Pakistan are accusing the Pakistani army of demolishing their homes with the apparent intention of pressuring them to depart the country. These refugees, who have resided in Pakistan for an extended period, are now seeking assistance from advocates dedicated to supporting refugees in their time of need.

According to Haji Nazar, a Pakistani –based Afghan refugee, “Over the past two days, the refugee camps housing Afghan families have faced ruthless destruction, with apparent disregard for the presence of women and children within these homes,” as cited by Tolonews.

The head of the Afghan Refugees’ Council in Pakistan, Mir Ahmad Rauf has reported widespread destruction of Afghan homes in Islamabad’s B-17, Karachi, and other parts of Pakistan. He says that not only are houses being demolished, but also the personal belongings of Afghan refugees are being confiscated, painting a distressing picture of their plight at the hands of the government.

This heartbreaking testimony highlights these vulnerable refugees’ dire situation, underscoring the urgency of addressing their plight and ensuring their safety.

Anwar ul Haq Kakar, the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan in Peshawar, emphasized that repatriating Afghan refugees does not signify the termination of relations with Afghanistan. However, the Taliban administration in Kabul asserts that the mistreatment of Afghan refugees has a detrimental impact on the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation reported that 800 families have returned from Pakistan in the past week, signalling a slight but notable trend in repatriation.

The Ministry’s report reveals that 4,975 individuals make up these families; among them are 391 prisoners incarcerated in Pakistani prisons.

Sarfaraz Bugti, the caretaker of Pakistan’s interior, has made it clear that the expulsion of illegal migrants is a policy that transcends nationality. It applies to Afghan nationals and anyone residing in the country without proper legal documentation. Bugti emphasized that, regardless of origin, these individuals will face expulsion from Pakistan after the designated deadline.

Despite their legal status, Afghan refugees have raised troubling concerns, alleging that they often find themselves detained, harassed, and subjected to mistreatment by Pakistani law enforcement authorities.

Afghan political analysts have voiced apprehensions regarding Pakistan’s commitment to expelling Afghan refugees, citing the significant influx of 21.3 billion USD in international aid since 2021. This substantial financial support has cast doubt over Pakistan’s stance on the Afghan refugee issue, leaving it uncertain.

Earlier statements by the interim minister of interior affairs of Pakistan, as reported in Pakistani media, suggested a firm stance on expelling illegal refugees beyond the October-end deadline, raising questions about the government’s position in light of the financial support received.

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