Figures released by the Taliban-run Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation reveal that an estimated 57,000 migrants have made their way back to Afghanistan from Pakistan since the start of Friday night.
According to the ministry’s statistics, tens of thousands of migrants still await entry at the Torkham border crossing, hoping to return to various regions within Afghanistan.
The Norwegian Refugee Council has underscored the overwhelming conditions faced by migrants along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, urging international organizations and the global community to step up and provide more humanitarian assistance to these returning migrants.
Footage captures Afghan immigrants in Karachi, Pakistan, rolling up their mats and belongings as they prepare to return to their home country. Many of them have spent a lifetime in the city, and they now face the reality that the neighbor’s welcoming table has been taken away.
In a camp within Karachi, individuals who do not express a desire to return to Afghanistan are apprehended and relocated for deportation. Remarkably, this group includes individuals possessing valid residence permits.
“We are beginning the repatriation process today. We have 120 people here, and we will send them in a convoy. They are handed over to Balochistan by Sindh state. They transport them to the border grasslands for their return to their homeland,” stated Junaid Iqbal Khan, the police commander of the Keamari district in Karachi.
Buses have been mobilized to transport men, women, and children to the Chaman border for mandatory deportation.
Calls for amnesty have arisen from human rights advocates, who argue that the time frame given for departure or arrest is inadequate and unjust.
“There should be an amnesty for the people. They were only given a month or two and told to leave or be arrested. I think this is unfair. It is unfair,” expressed Zia Ahmad Awan, a human rights advocate.
Images captured at the Torkham border crossing reveal a daunting scene, where hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people anxiously await entry into Afghanistan. The process involves registration, biometrics, and eventually, entry into the country. Some individuals find themselves enduring grueling nights in the open air.
“One of these immigrants expressed, “There is a roadblock here. We are waiting. Children are also in the car. We came from Lahore and want to go to Kabul. ‘I was born in Pakistan, but I am from Afghanistan.’
Humanitarian organizations have appealed to the international community for assistance to support these migrants as they contend with cold weather. Such assistance includes shelter, food, healthcare, and integration programs.
The government of Pakistan has issued a warning to over 1.7 million Afghan immigrants in the country who lack legal documentation, urging them to leave Pakistan. Numerous human rights organizations have raised concerns that Pakistan’s decision could potentially lead to a human rights crisis.