The Sindh government has set up a control room in the office of the Sindh Home Department to oversee the evacuation of illegal immigrants from the province. This initiative is part of Pakistan’s broader crackdown on illegal immigration due to concerns about security and economic implications.
The control room will be active round the clock from October 31 to November 3 and is responsible for ensuring an organized evacuation process across the province. Pakistan has set a November 1 deadline for all illegal immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of Afghans, to leave the country, or they will face forcible expulsion.
The Sindh government is committed to safeguarding the rights of all immigrants, regardless of their legal status. However, it will take action against those involved in illegal immigration. There are approximately 1.73 million Afghans in Pakistan without legal documents.
Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees since the Soviet invasion of Kabul in 1979, with the current estimated number at 4.4 million. Around 20,000 or more Afghans who fled the 2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan are in Pakistan, awaiting processing of their applications for US Special Immigration Visas (SIVs) or resettlement in the United States.
Islamabad alleges that Afghan nationals have been responsible for multiple suicide bombings in Pakistan this year. Afghans under trial or convicted of serious crimes will not be deported.
District administration, police, prosecution, and jail administration will be granted special authority from November 1 to arrest and deport illegal Afghan citizens. Those detained in any of the four provinces will be held in special centers during the process.
The United States has urged Pakistan to allow Afghans seeking protection to enter the country and coordinate with international humanitarian organizations to provide assistance. The Taliban rulers in Afghanistan have expressed their disapproval of Pakistan’s move to evict illegal Afghan migrants.
Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have strained over the past few years, primarily due to accusations of militants operating from Afghan territory, a claim the Taliban deny.