Pakistan to expel 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees

Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, has announced the country’s intention to repatriate an additional 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees.

Speaking at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Akram noted that approximately one million Afghan refugees in Pakistan are unregistered, with thousands more lacking any legal residency documentation.

According to Akram, there are currently 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan.

This decision comes amidst criticism from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and international human rights organizations. These groups have condemned Pakistan’s plan for “forced expulsions,” arguing that it violates refugee rights and urging an immediate halt to the process.

Despite the outcry, Pakistan’s parliament, in a statement published on X (formerly Twitter), quoted Akram emphasizing that over the past four decades, Pakistan has hosted more than five million Afghan refugees.

Akram pointed out that the burden of hosting Afghan refugees has lessened due to the support from developed countries.

In November 2023, Pakistan approved a plan to expel undocumented Afghan refugees, a move that has faced opposition from human rights organizations due to potential risks to the affected individuals. However, Pakistan remains steadfast in implementing this policy.

The country is currently in the second phase of the “forced expulsions” of Afghan refugees.