In a significant move aimed at addressing security concerns, the caretaker government has established a November 1 deadline for undocumented immigrants currently residing in the country. The announcement, made following a high-level apex committee meeting on the National Action Plan (NAP), has raised eyebrows and triggered discussions both nationally and internationally.
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti, during a press conference after the meeting, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that the November 1 deadline has been set for illegal “aliens” to voluntarily leave the country. This decision came on the heels of a deadly suicide blast in Balochistan’s Mastung, which claimed the lives of over 60 individuals. Many recent acts of terrorism in Pakistan have been linked to Afghan nationals or their involvement.
According to a recent report from the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), an independent think tank, the first half of 2023 witnessed a staggering 79% increase in terrorist activities in the country, with at least 271 militant attacks resulting in the loss of 389 lives and injuries to 656 individuals.
Minister Bugti disclosed that Afghan nationals were responsible for 14 out of the 24 suicide bombings in Pakistan this year, underscoring the government’s security concerns. As a response, the caretaker government has issued a stern warning to undocumented immigrants, urging them to voluntarily leave Pakistan by the specified deadline.
The situation is complex, with an estimated 1.73 million Afghan nationals residing in Pakistan without proper legal documentation. Furthermore, there is a broader Afghan refugee population of 4.4 million in the country. The caretaker government’s decision to enforce this deadline has stirred debate, and it has already faced opposition from the United Nations, which has expressed concerns about the forced expulsion of undocumented migrants.
As November 1 approaches, the fate of these undocumented immigrants remains uncertain, and the international community continues to monitor developments closely. This move by the caretaker government raises critical questions about security, immigration, and the humanitarian implications of such a decision. United Nations has also expressed its view of opposing this forcible compulsion plan by Pakistan.