Islamabad, 30 October 2023 (TDI): With only two days left until the October 31 Afghan repatriation deadline, many Afghans are hurrying to return to their home country as part of the accelerated repatriation process.
The deadline marks the final day for illegal foreign nationals to leave the country, and official sources have confirmed that the government will not extend the deadline for voluntary repatriation.
This deadline applies to all illegal foreign nationals, including Afghan refugees, who are expected to return to their respective countries. To ensure compliance, law enforcement agencies have completed the geo-fencing and geo-mapping of illegal residents.
After the deadline passes, action will be taken against those found to be residing in the country illegally, which may include the confiscation of all their movable and immovable assets.
However, a total of 33,555 illegal immigrants have returned to their home country through the Torkham border between October 1-23. Among these were 2,772 Afghan families, comprising 8,309 men, 5,457 women, and 19,789 children.
Over 86,000 undocumented Afghan nationals have already returned to their country.
Additionally, one hundred and forty-nine families returned to Afghanistan in one hundred and seventy-four trucks during the last 24 hours.
The repatriation of Afghan nationals began after the government instructed all unregistered immigrants to voluntarily repatriate by October 31, 2023, which led to the initiation of the repatriation process through the Torkham border.
It is important to note that the government has clarified that this campaign is not aimed at any particular nationality.
According to UN agencies, there are more than 2 million undocumented Afghans in Pakistan, with at least 600,000 of them having fled after the Taliban takeover in 2021.
A senior government official, while requesting anonymity, emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to its decision and its refusal to show flexibility in seeking the deportation of all foreigners living in the country illegally, despite pressure from certain countries to review the move.
Recently, in a tragic incident, two people lost their lives, and 26 others sustained serious injuries when a 10-wheeler truck, transporting Afghan refugees, overturned due to over-speeding in the vicinity of Hattian.
The accident occurred when the truck, carrying families of Afghan refugees, veered off the road and crashed into a bridge, causing it to topple over. Men, women, and children who were sitting on top of the truck were trapped under the debris.