Deadline to leave the country not limited to Afghans, applies to all illegal foreigners: Minister

Caretaker Interior Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti (left) addressing a press conference in Quetta on September 30, 2023.  - APP
Caretaker Interior Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti (left) addressing a press conference in Quetta on September 30, 2023. – APP
  • The caretaker government has set November 1 as the deadline for “aliens” to leave the country.
  • The security czar denies basing government policy on “ethnic lines”.
  • Minister says those who have visas, refugee cards are “our guests”.

Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti on Wednesday clarified that the November 1 deadline is not limited to Afghans only, but applies to all foreigners living illegally in Pakistan.

Speaking at the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Affairs, the security tsar clarified that the government addressed the issue of expulsion of “all” illegal foreigners living in the country, however, the message was wrongly received as if the state was only targeting Afghans. Wanted to bring back the citizens.

The caretaker government, earlier this month, had directed all “aliens”, including 1.73 million Afghan nationals, to leave the country after a series of terrorist attacks in which Afghan civilians were found responsible for 14 out of 24 suicide bombings. Was.

“Government’s message [to leave the country] is not limited to Afghans, [it is applicable] On all illegal foreigners living in the country,” Bugti said.

The government is also deporting Baluch people coming to the country from Iran, Bugti assured, saying that people with refugee cards and visas are “our guests”.

He stressed that the issue is being given an ethnic dimension, which is not the case at all as we intend to expel all illegal foreigners.

Illegal foreigners will have to leave Pakistan by November 1

To crack down on illegal “foreigners”, the caretaker government has set a November 1 deadline for immigrants living in the country illegally, and warned that action will be taken against them after the deadline.

The decision was taken at an apex committee meeting on National Action Plan (NAP) on October 3 after a deadly suicide blast in Mastung, Balochistan, which claimed more than 60 lives. Most of the recent terror incidents in Pakistan have reportedly used Afghan civilians or soil.

According to a statistical report released by independent think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), at least 271 terrorist attacks took place during the first half of 2023, resulting in the loss of 389 lives and injuring 656 persons. Terrorist activities in the country increased by 79% during this period.

The United Nations (UN) has also said that refugees living in Pakistan should be allowed to leave the country voluntarily and no pressure should be put on them.

Pakistan has hosted millions of Afghan refugees since the Soviet Union invaded in 1979.

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 1.33 million registered refugees have Proof of Registration (POR) cards, and 840,000 have Afghan citizenship cards.

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