Concerns linger over Afghan migrants’ situation in Pakistan amid deportation worries

A group of journalists and activists in exile in Pakistan. File photo.

The Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network has expressed deep concerns regarding the Pakistani government’s decision to deport undocumented Afghan immigrants.

In a statement, the network has called upon Islamabad to rescind this deportation order.

Furthermore, the network underscored that Afghan immigrants in Pakistan are seeking safety and refuge and should not face mass deportations as a punitive measure.

The Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network has now officially urged the Pakistani government to revoke its decision to deport Afghan refugees.

The organization has emphasized that individuals striving to find safety and security should not be collectively penalized.

The fear of deportation for these immigrants, coupled with the grim prospect of returning to Afghanistan and falling under the control of the Taliban, has cast a shadow of anxiety over the Afghan immigrant community.

Idris Sadat, a former journalist and current affairs shows host on a private television channel in Afghanistan, is among those affected. He, along with his family of seven, had to seek refuge in Pakistan a year ago with the hopes of obtaining humanitarian visas for European countries.

Sadat expressed his apprehensions about Pakistan’s decision to deport Afghan immigrants.

“Afghan immigrants in Pakistan are facing dire circumstances, with ongoing arrests and security agencies tasked with detaining Afghan immigrants and repatriating them to Afghanistan. This is an alarming and distressing development for those whose lives are in jeopardy. Afghanistan was perilous for them, and they have sought refuge in Pakistan and neighboring nations,” he said.

“Journalists residing in Pakistan are grappling with severe psychological stress in addition to economic and security challenges. The situation is exacerbated by Pakistan’s decision to deport refugees. The repatriation of journalists to Afghanistan could potentially result in serious problems,” warned Hashmatullah Wojdani, a journalist in exile in Pakistan.

The Federation of Afghan Journalists in Pakistan also appealed to the Pakistani government, requesting that Afghan journalists not be subject to deportation. In a letter addressed to the office of the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan, the federation sought an exception for journalists to protect them from the deportation risk, emphasizing the need for visa extensions.

Earlier, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, implored the Pakistani government to reconsider its decision to deport Afghan refugees and migrants. However, on Monday, the foreign minister of Pakistan’s interim government reiterated that the deportation decision for undocumented immigrants had not been reconsidered.