Thursday, September 28, 2023

Registered Afghan refugees arrested in South Pakistan police crackdown

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

In Karachi, Pakistan, hundreds of Afghan nationals have recently been arrested by the police on charges of residing illegally in the country. However, Afghan diplomats and human rights activists argue that many detained people hold valid documents to prove their legal status.

The Pakistani authorities launched the crackdown on Saturday, which some believe is a response to reported militant infiltration from Afghanistan into Pakistan’s Chitral district.

This infiltration resulted in a gun battle on Thursday in which four security personnel were killed. In response to this incident, Pakistan issued a demarche to the Afghan charge d’affaires in Islamabad, registering a strong protest.

During a three-day crackdown, Karachi police have booked 293 Afghan nationals under the Foreigners Act, as confirmed by a police spokesperson.

Moniza Kakar, a lawyer and human rights activist, expressed her concerns on social media, highlighting that the police arrested Afghan refugees and confiscated their proof of registration (PoR) cards.

Moniza Kakar conveyed her concerns on her social media platform X, saying that an alarming situation in Karachi involved the arrest of over 150 Afghan refugees, including many who were registered, and reported confiscation of their registration cards by the police. She emphasized that these mass arrests were rooted in racial profiling and called for immediate action to safeguard the rights of refugees.

The Karachi police and Pakistani officials did not comment on the allegations when requested.

Meanwhile, Syed Abdul Jabbar, the Consul General of Afghanistan in Karachi, confirmed that his office had formally expressed concerns to Pakistani authorities.

“When we contacted the federal authorities in Islamabad and provincial authorities in Sindh, they assured us that no registered Afghan refugees would be arrested,” he continued. “However, the police are continuously arresting registered Afghan refugees.”

Syed Abdul Jabbar, the Consul General of Afghanistan in Karachi, appealed to Pakistani authorities not to detain registered Afghan refugees. He further suggested that individuals without proper documents should be granted a grace period to make arrangements to return to their home country.

The recent arrests of Afghan nationals in Sindh and across Pakistan followed the government’s directive to apprehend undocumented Afghans. However, Afghan refugees and human rights advocates contend that these arrests predominantly affect vulnerable Afghans who cannot return to their homeland under Taliban rule, citing security risks and economic hardships as significant obstacles.

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