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Rights Group Urges Pakistan To Stop Arresting Afghan Refugees

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The Government of Pakistan must urgently stop arbitrarily arresting and harassing Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom are fleeing persecution by the Taliban, Amnesty International said on Tuesday as it marks World Refugee Day.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, many Afghans have fled to Pakistan for fear of persecution. These migrants have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, detentions, and threats of deportation. 

Due to significant delays in the registration procedure, most Afghan refugees still need to possess Proof of Registration (PoR) cards, the identity document allowing them to reside in Pakistan routinely. Many people had ordinary visas when entering Pakistan, but those have expired.

Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director for South Asia, said, “It is deeply concerning that the situation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan is not receiving due international attention.”

According to Amnesty International, many refugees in Pakistan do not want to go back to Afghanistan. The organization called on the U.N. agency for refugees to “expedite registration and reviews of applications from Afghans seeking refugee status in Pakistan.”

Amnesty also highlighted refugees requesting that nations sponsoring relocation programmes speed up the processing of their visa applications.

According to Amnesty, more than 3.7 million Afghans who fled Afghanistan for political and economic reasons now reside in Pakistan. Only 1.4 million people have official registration.

Meanwhile, The Afghanistan Embassy in Islamabad also requested Pakistan to cease detaining Afghans earlier this month after 250 people were held for lack of travel documents by counterterrorism officials and other agencies.

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