Pakistan Sets November 2 Deadline for Undocumented Immigrants

Pakistan is set to initiate a nationwide crackdown on undocumented immigrants starting November 2, 2023. The announcement was made by the caretaker Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti, who stated that only two days remain for voluntary return. The deadline for voluntary return is set to expire on November 1.

The operation, described as “lengthy and gradual,” will target those who are completely illegal. Bugti emphasized that the government is not deporting any refugees. Pakistan is home to more than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, about 1.7 million of them undocumented, according to the interior ministry.

The decision to expel undocumented immigrants was taken after Afghan nationals were found to be involved in crimes, smuggling, and 14 suicide bombings out of 24 this year. The government alleges that militants use Afghan soil to train fighters and plan attacks inside Pakistan.

Those leaving voluntarily will be assisted by the government at temporary centers set up to house the immigrants. “We will try to provide them food and health facilities for two to three days at the holding centers,” said Bugti.

The immigrants, mostly Afghans, many of whom have lived in Pakistan for years, will be processed at these centers. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans moved to Pakistan to escape war and conflicts, and many are registered as refugees with the government and U.N. agencies.

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