- The government has started action against undocumented migrants living in Pakistan.
- HRW has warned that Afghans seeking asylum abroad could be at risk of deportation.
- The purpose of deportation is to ensure the “welfare and security” of Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD: The government has ordered officials against arresting Afghans awaiting resettlement in the United States, protecting them from deportation as it launches a crackdown on undocumented immigrants living in Pakistan.
Border officials have said more than 180,000 people have returned to Afghanistan after Islamabad ordered 1.7 million Afghans living illegally in Pakistan to leave or face deportation.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has earlier warned that Afghans awaiting resettlement in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada after fleeing the Taliban government are at risk of deportation after their Pakistan visas expire.
Two years after the Taliban takeover, many Western countries are still in the process of resettling Afghan refugees, leaving many families waiting for months in Pakistan.
“According to the US Embassy, 1,150 Afghan nationals are being sponsored for transfer and resettlement to the United States,” the Interior Ministry’s November 2 letter said. AFP,
“It is requested to ensure that the Afghan nationals mentioned in the list of contents are not arrested until further notice.”
This comes after the US on Wednesday called on Islamabad to let Afghans seeking asylum leave.
“We encourage Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Pakistan, to allow entry to Afghans seeking international protection and to coordinate with international humanitarian organizations to provide humanitarian assistance,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Wednesday.
Millions of Afghans have come to Pakistan fleeing a series of violent conflicts in recent decades, including an estimated 600,000 since the Taliban government seized power in August 2021 and imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
Pakistan has said the deportations are to protect its “welfare and security” after a sharp increase in attacks, which the government blames on militants operating from Afghanistan.