In a recent development, Pakistan has initiated a crackdown on foreign nationals residing in the country without proper documentation, leading to the arrest and deportation of thousands of Afghan refugees. Over the past two months, around 200,000 Afghan nationals have left Pakistan, fearing deportation amid the government’s strict enforcement of its deportation policy.
Many of these Afghan refugees, who have called Pakistan home for decades, are now faced with a grim situation as they are forced to return to Afghanistan. Among them is Abdullah, who had been living in Pakistan since the Russian war and had built a life for his family there. Despite having Afghan Citizen Cards issued by the Pakistani government, he and his family have been targeted for deportation.
Pakistan’s decision to deport undocumented Afghan migrants and refugees has been met with criticism from human rights groups, including Amnesty International, which highlighted the risks faced by women and girls returning to Afghanistan. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has expressed concerns about the safety of certain vulnerable groups, such as minorities, journalists, and women. Also read Afghan Refugees Leaving Pakistan Before Deadline
The Pakistani government has defended its deportation policy, emphasizing its right to enforce its laws. However, concerns are growing about the impact of thousands of deportees on Afghanistan’s already fragile economy. The country has been grappling with economic challenges since the Taliban took over in 2021, leading to a significant increase in unemployment and humanitarian needs.
As winter approaches and Afghanistan faces an uncertain future, many Afghan refugees, including those who worked for international forces, are living in fear of deportation. They worry about the safety and education of their children, with limited options and an unknown fate looming ahead. The situation remains tense as both Pakistani and Afghan authorities grapple with the complexities of the refugee crisis.