Nearly half million Afghan migrants return in 2 months

KABUL (Khaama Press): In just over two months, close to half a million Afghan nationals residing in Pakistan without proper documentation have voluntarily returned to their homeland. This mass exodus comes in response to Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to curb illegal migration, as announced by the caretaker interior minister.
During a news conference held in Islamabad on Friday, the caretaker Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti, disclosed that over 482,000 Afghan nationals have made their way back to Afghanistan within the past two months, with an impressive 90% of them returning voluntarily. As part of Pakistan’s stringent measures against illegal migration, it has also been decided to deport ten Afghan individuals who were legally present in the country but involved in political activities, according to reports from the Associated Press.
“Only Pakistani citizens are allowed to engage in political activities in the country. Any foreigner who is found involved in any political activity will be deported immediately,” he said. Bugti did not identify the 10 Afghans who are being deported, nor did he give any details about their activities in Pakistan’s politics.
In the current initial phase of deportation efforts, Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti emphasized that only undocumented Afghan individuals are being repatriated.
However, he pointed out that eventually, all Afghan refugees will need to return to Afghanistan, as Pakistan has provided shelter and hospitality for some of them for nearly four decades. This highlights Pakistan’s long-standing commitment to managing its refugee population while adhering to international norms.
Coinciding with these remarks, US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, paid a visit to Islamabad. During his stay, he engaged in discussions with Pakistani officials, including the foreign minister and army chief.
West emphasized the gravity of security challenges posed by groups like the Tehrik-i-Taliban and stressed the importance of safeguarding the well-being of Afghan refugees.
Amidst growing concern, many human rights organizations, including the United Nations, have called upon Pakistani officials to suspend the forced deportation of Afghan migrants, citing the dire humanitarian conditions and harsh winter currently prevailing in Afghanistan.
Despite these appeals and international condemnation, Pakistani authorities have chosen to intensify their deportation efforts, asserting that this approach is crucial for bolstering both national security and the country’s economy.
The situation underscores the complex balancing act between humanitarian considerations and national interests in addressing the Afghan migrant crisis.