1.45 Million Afghan Refugees Allowed To Stay In Pakistan

Pakistan announced on Wednesday that around 1.45 million Afghan refugees with legal documentation can stay in the country for another year.

Pakistan announced on Wednesday that around 1.45 million Afghan refugees with legal documentation can stay in the country for another year. However, the expulsion of undocumented migrants will continue.

Since last year, over 600,000 Afghans have left Pakistan after being ordered to leave or face arrest due to deteriorating relations with Afghanistan over security issues.

Human rights groups have warned that those sent back to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan face little support and some persecution by the new regime.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet extended the stay of legally residing Afghan refugees holding Proof of Registration cards until June 2025. These cards had expired last month, leaving holders uncertain about their right to remain in Pakistan. Despite holding these cards, many Afghan refugees have reported harassment and pressure to leave the country.

The announcement came after a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, who appreciated the suspension of the ‘Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan’. However, a Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman denied any suspension, stating that the plan is still in effect.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani immigration official at the Torkham border said they are seizing documents from departing Afghans to ensure they do not return without a visa.

Millions of Afghans have fled to Pakistan over the years due to ongoing conflicts, with about 600,000 arriving since the Taliban took power in August 2021. Islamabad justifies its eviction plan citing security concerns and economic challenges, with analysts suggesting it is pressuring Kabul over rising attacks in Pakistan’s border regions.

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