Home Neighbours Afghanistan Taliban Urges Pakistan Not To Unilaterally Repatriate Afghan Migrants

Taliban Urges Pakistan Not To Unilaterally Repatriate Afghan Migrants

Afghan refugees in Pakistan
Afghan refugees in Pakistan

The Taliban government has asked Pakistan not to make a unilateral decision on repatriation of Afghan migrants and asked Islamabad not to harass them.

“The issue of refugees is bilateral and decisions regarding them should be made through an understanding between both countries,” said Abdul Rahman Rashed, according to a ministry statement on social media platform X on Thursday.

“They shouldn’t be harassed until a joint mechanism is reached,” he added.

The Pakistani government has said that its policy of expulsion of foreigners was not Afghan specific. Millions of Afghans moved into Pakistan after fleeing successive conflicts and political upheaval that have continued since 1970s.

Since last year, the Pakistan government has deported 527,000 Afghans. The Shehbaz-Sharif government is planning to expand what it calls ‘Illegal Foreigners’ Repatriation Plan’ to Pakistan-issued Afghan Citizen Card (ACC) holders after Eid.

Recently, foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said, “several measures are under consideration and debate”.

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Over half a million Afghans fled Pakistan after the government asked all undocumented migrants to leave or face arrest as bilateral ties between both the countries nosedived.

Taliban officials have asked Afghans to return home after coming to power in 2021, but have condemned Islamabad’s actions saying that nationals are being punished for tensions between Islamabad and Kabul.

There has been popular support among Pakistanis for carrying out the expulsions.

In a survey carried out in November 2023, Gallup Pakistan found that 84% of the respondents “strongly approved” the government’s move to expel the “illegal” refugees and migrants, mainly from Afghanistan. The survey also found that 64% of the respondents said the repatriation of the Afghans would lead to improved security and peace in Pakistan.

The UN and Amnesty International have called for an ‘immediate cancellation’ of the plan to expel more Afghan migrants stating that it violates international human rights laws.