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Iran and Pakistan expel nearly one million illegal afghan nationals

ISLAMABAD: Iran and Pakistan have repatriated close to one million Afghan nationals who were staying unlawfully, in the calendar year 2003.

Iranian authorities have expelled more than 450,000 illegal Afghan nationals while Pakistan has also sent back more than 0.4 million Afghans in recent months.

Both countries took the initiative following the involvement of illegal Afghans in criminal activities, violations of the law, terrorism, and other issues that posed challenges for Iran and Pakistan.

Iranian authorities kept Afghan nationals in the designated refugee camps, however, in Pakistan, the illegal Afghans spread in major cities.

On Monday (Dec 18), 1,586 Afghan nationals were safely returned to their homeland, contributing to a total of 438,376 immigrants who have been repatriated so far.

In a meeting chaired by Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar on October 3, the apex committee of the National Action Plan (NAP) set a deadline of October 31 for all foreign nationals residing illegally in the country to depart voluntarily or face deportation.

Pakistan’s government is actively facilitating the repatriation of illegal Afghan residents, particularly at the Torkham and Chaman borders.

Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti (who resigned last week) firmly rejected any mistreatment of illegal immigrants during Pakistan’s repatriation process. He emphasized Prime Minister Kakar’s explicit instructions to ensure a humane approach to handling the situation.

Addressing the Senate, Bugti assured that there would be no mishandling at the borders and welcomed suggestions from political leaders to address any potential mismanagement.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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