The Pakistani government has officially commenced the process of forcibly expelling undocumented Afghan migrants, triggering a climate of apprehension and unpredictability.
As reported by the Pakistani Dawn newspaper, this action, announced by Pakistan’s interim government’s Ministry of Interior, entails the detention of migrants followed by their transfer to special deportation camps for subsequent removal to the Afghan border.
Over the past two days, Afghan migrants residing in Pakistan have reported coordinated police raids on their homes, further intensifying their distress. Disturbing images have surfaced, depicting Pakistani police detaining Afghan citizens possessing valid passports, visas, and migration cards.
Alarmingly, Afghan citizens asserted that the process of forced expulsion began even before the official deadline, with Pakistani authorities initiating detentions and deportations ahead of November 1.
Expressing her concerns, Safiya Arifi, an Afghan migrant in Pakistan, stated, “At any moment, the police might enter people’s homes and treat migrants inappropriately and inhumanely. At any moment, migrants might face the risk of expulsion. No one can even leave their homes. They are forced to hide in our houses like prisoners.”
Aqa Jan, another Afghan migrant in Pakistan, reflected on their history in Pakistan: “We have had a great time here. I am 45 years old and have spent my entire life here. We came here during the Russian invasion. I was born here. I have never been to Afghanistan. Now, the Pakistani government is treating us in this way. Look at the condition of our homes; look at the situation we are in.”
Meanwhile, Afghan journalists who had sought refuge in Pakistan following the return of the Taliban to power are reaching out to journalist support organizations, urgently pleading for assistance. They have sent audio and text messages to journalist groups in exile, seeking help. One journalist in this group reported that the police had detained his wife and son.
Despite calls from the United States, the European Union, and other nations for Pakistan to implement a systematic registration process for undocumented migrants rather than resorting to forced expulsion, the interim government of Pakistan has escalated the process of deporting these vulnerable populations, despite widespread criticism.