Monday, December 4, 2023

Pakistan: Afghan migrants launch protest over deportation

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Amid the deadline set by the Pakistan government to expel undocumented migrants from the country, a group of Afghan refugees started a protest outside the office of the United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Islamabad, according to Khaama Press.

Over 1.7 million undocumented migrants in Pakistan were given until November 1 to depart by the country’s temporary administration, less than a month ago. Pakistan issued a warning to migrants, threatening to arrest and deport them if they do not leave the nation.

The protest, which took place on Monday, was launched by defence lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, and individuals vulnerable to the Taliban, who argued that the UNHCR hasn’t properly examined their cases over the last two years, Khaama Press reported.

The protesters asserted that Afghan migrants are not granted visas by the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul, and the UNHCR is not willing to give them proper papers that would shield them from abuse by Pakistani authorities.

Worrying that leaving Pakistan will expose them to the violations of human rights by the Taliban, the Afghan refugees continue to remain in a difficult position. Moreover, according to Khaama Press, the lawyers for Afghan women also accused the UNHCR of failing to act in response to the demonstrations.
Recently, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti, stated that the government had no plans to extend the deadline, saying, “We talked about expelling illegal residents, but the message was conveyed as if we were only expelling Afghans, Khaama Press reported. The government’s message was not just for Afghans; it was for all illegal migrants.”

Despite facing pressure from various nations to reconsider its decision regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants living in the country, Pakistan remains resolute and is unwilling to change its stance, Pakistan-based The Express Tribune reported.

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