Pakistani President Arif Alvi has highlighted the immense burden his country has borne for almost four decades in hosting Afghan refugees.
In an interview with VOA Urdu, President Alvi defended Pakistan’s recent decision to expel Afghans residing without proper documentation, citing the strain on the country’s economy.
Pakistan has provided refuge to approximately 3.5 million Afghan citizens for three to four decades, significantly impacting its economy and livelihood, according to President Alvi.
He also expressed concerns about the influence of Afghan refugees on Pakistan’s culture, particularly the rise of the “Kalashnikov culture” due to the influx of weapons following the Soviet-Afghan war.
However, experts argue that Pakistan’s handling of militants has been characterized by a perceived double standard, which may be contributing to the current internal issues the country is facing. This dual approach, where some militant groups are allegedly tolerated or even supported while others are targeted, has raised concerns both domestically and internationally, impacting Pakistan’s stability and security.
In early October, Pakistan ordered all individuals residing in the country illegally to leave voluntarily or face a crackdown after November 1, resulting in the departure of over 300,000 Afghan refugees.
President Alvi lamented the lack of sufficient international support for Pakistan despite hosting one of the world’s largest refugee populations and emphasized the unfulfilled promises of cooperation from the global community.
Pakistan has accused the Taliban administration of providing refuge to the banned militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been responsible for numerous attacks within Pakistan. However, the Taliban denies these allegations, claiming that Pakistan is using them to divert attention from its internal problems.