Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Never-Ending Dilemma of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

Immigration News

Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi is a journalist and editor for Khaama Press. You may follow him @nizamrezahi on Twitter.

The incarceration of Afghan Refugees including women and 178 children has drawn massive attention and generated bad press for the Sindh government.

Since the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban in August 2021, thousands of Afghans fled to Pakistan, fearing harassment, persecution, and killing. Some of these Afghan citizens entered the country with visas while others with no visas, now facing the fear of imprisonment and possible forceful deportation.   

To stay legally in Pakistan, many require visa extensions, but this would mean going through expensive, unregulated agents causing many to refrain from attempting to get their visas extended. The lack of a transparent procedure to get the visas extended has forced Afghan migrants to avoid paying a considerable amount of money to agents of officials.

The Pakistani government has taken serious measures to deal with those illegal migrants across the country in the recent past. Sindh law enforcement authorities have detained some 1200 Afghan men, women, and children without visas or stay permits. The move drew massive attention and generated bad press for the Pakistani government’s harsh treatment of Afghan refugees.

“If a person lives illegally in any country, the government takes action and deals with them according to the law,” Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said while justifying the arrests.

According to sources, the first batch of Afghan detainees includes 54 women who have passed a two-month sentence will be deported to Afghanistan this Monday, where an uncertain future awaits them.

Many experts describe the recent arrestments in Karachi as nothing but an immediate reaction by the government following the rise in terror attacks across the country, in which resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent civilians and army personnel in the recent past. The attacks had brought Afghanistan-Pakistan relations to a tipping point with Pakistan accusing the Afghan Taliban of allowing the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to have given sanctuaries to the terrorist group. Whereas, the Afghan Taliban in Kabul terms such claims as baseless allegations, and calls on the Pakistani government to avoid using such provocative and irresponsible statements.

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