Sunday, October 2, 2022

Pak restricts entry to Afghan refugees; Where will they go?

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The Pakistan government has decided to limit the entry of evacuees from Afghanistan exclusively in the capital Islamabad, with intentions to use Karachi and Lahore as secondary transport hubs. The US embassy in Pakistan had asked the Pakistani government to assist in the evacuation operations ahead of the August 31 deadline for the US to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has lasted more than 20 years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Embassy requested permission to land or transit passengers in three categories, according to officials: US diplomats/citizens, Afghan nationals, and persons from other nations. Approximately 4,000 individuals were scheduled to be transported to Karachi and Islamabad for a stay before being flown to the United States, including Afghans who aided NATO soldiers during the war.

Official sources informed Geo News that the federal government will only use Karachi and Lahore airports as backup alternatives, and that Afghan evacuees would only be allowed to enter through Islamabad.

Passengers in transit will only stay in Islamabad for a few hours before being transported to pre-determined destinations. The sources informed Geo News that only emergency cases will be allowed to stay in hotels in Islamabad. The decision to stop evacuees from entering Lahore and Karachi was made due to security concerns.

According to the news source, the Sindh government has been informed of the revised plans. Officials say security has been tightened around Islamabad airport and the main highway connecting the airport to the capital.

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