The Ministry of Interior has issued arrest orders for ‘Illegal Afghan Nationals’ residing in Pakistan, including those who have exceeded their visa validity period. The development comes in response to the expiration of the deadline for foreign nationals to leave Pakistan and marks a shift in the country’s approach to immigration.
Today, we said goodbye to 64 Afghan nationals as they began their journey back home. This action is a testament to Pakistan's determination to repatriate any individuals residing in the country without proper documentation. pic.twitter.com/2PB9BjFKTA
— Senator Sarfraz Bugti (@PakSarfrazbugti) November 1, 2023
Cracking Down on Illegal Afghan Nationals
The directives from the Ministry of Interior have set in motion a series of actions across Pakistan to detain and deport foreign nationals who are staying in the country without legal status. The crackdown extends to Afghan nationals who have been residing in Pakistan for extended periods, forcing them to return to Afghanistan, a move met with big challenges and uncertainties.
Your Namak (Salt) was enough. Thanks everyone. An Afghan student says goodbye to his classmates. pic.twitter.com/DSg16wBeKv
— Arshad Yousafzai (@Arshadyousafzay) October 30, 2023
As this situation unfolds, it highlights the intricacies of immigration policies and the often-overlooked human narratives they encompass. The widely circulated video of an Afghan child saying goodbye to schoolmates stands as a testament to the human dimension of this unfolding crisis, sparking public outrage and giving rise to apprehensions about the destiny of those entangled in shifting political scenarios.
Careful Exclusion of Certain Groups
The ministry’s notification also emphasizes that individuals who are currently under trial or have been convicted will not be deported. This directive has been communicated to all provinces, ensuring a coordinated effort to address the issue. Caretaker Minister for Interior, Sarfraz Bugti, clarified that the focus is on those who are entirely undocumented, with assurances that refugees will not face deportation.
The decision to repatriate Afghan nationals who have lived most of their lives in Pakistan presents complex humanitarian and geopolitical challenges, especially in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan. The lack of amnesty schemes for these displaced individuals raises questions about their legal status and the hardships they face in the current political climate.