December 2, 2023


KARACHI: Pakistani police are arresting Afghan girls and youngsters in southern Sindh province as a part of a authorities crackdown on migrants, activists stated Saturday.

Greater than 250,000 Afghans have left Pakistan in latest weeks as the federal government rounded up, arrested and kicked out overseas nationals with out papers. It set an Oct. 31 deadline for migrants with out authorized standing to depart the nation voluntarily.

The expulsions largely have an effect on Afghans, who make up nearly all of foreigners dwelling in Pakistan. Authorities preserve they’re concentrating on all who’re within the nation illegally.

Human rights lawyer Moniza Kakar stated police in Sindh launch midnight raids on individuals’s houses and detain Afghan households, together with girls and youngsters.

Since Nov. 1, she and different activists have stationed themselves exterior detention facilities in Karachi to assist Afghans. However they are saying they face challenges accessing the facilities. They don’t have details about raid timings or deportation buses leaving the port metropolis for Afghanistan.

“They’ve been arresting tons of of Afghan nationals every day for the reason that Oct. 31 deadline, sparing neither kids nor girls,” Kakar stated.

Final December, Afghan girls and youngsters had been amongst 1,200 individuals jailed in Karachi for coming into town with out legitimate journey paperwork. The arrests introduced criticism from round Afghanistan after photos of locked-up kids had been circulated on-line.

Within the newest crackdown, even Afghans with documentation face the fixed menace of detention, main many to restrict themselves to their houses for concern of deportation, Kakar stated. “Some households I do know are struggling with out meals, pressured to remain indoors as police officers proceed arresting them, no matter their immigration standing.”

She highlighted the plight of refugee kids born in Pakistan with out proof of identification, even when their dad and mom have papers. Minors are being separated from their households, she advised The Related Press.

A Pakistani baby who speaks Pashto, one among Afghanistan’s official languages, was detained and deported as a result of his dad and mom had been unable to register him within the nationwide database, in accordance with Kakar.

The pinnacle of the Human Rights Fee of Pakistan, Hina Jilani, stated Pakistan lacks a complete mechanism to deal with refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants with out papers, regardless of internet hosting Afghans for 40 years.

She criticized the federal government’s “one-size-fits-all strategy” and known as for a needs-based evaluation, particularly for individuals who crossed the border after the Taliban seized management of Afghanistan in 2021.

Violence towards Pakistani safety forces and civilians has surged for the reason that Taliban takeover. Most assaults have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, a separate militant group however a detailed ally of the Afghan Taliban.

On Saturday, the TTP claimed duty for an assault that killed three cops and injured one other three in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.

Pakistan accuses the Taliban of harboring militants from teams just like the TTP — allegations that the Taliban deny — and stated Afghans with out everlasting authorized standing are chargeable for a few of the assaults.

Jilani highlighted the humanitarian facet of coping with Pakistan’s Afghan communities, saying they shouldn’t be solely seen by way of a safety lens.

The Sindh official chargeable for detention and deportation facilities within the province, Junaid Iqbal Khan, admitted there have been “preliminary incidents” of mistaken identification, with documented refugees and even Pakistani nationals being taken to transit factors or detention facilities. However now solely foreigners with out correct registration or documentation are despatched for deportation, Khan stated.

Round 2,000 detainees have been taken to a central transit level up to now 10 days, with a number of buses heading to the Afghan border every day by way of southwest Baluchistan province.

Khan stated he wasn’t concerned in raids or detentions so couldn’t touch upon allegations of mishandling.

Pakistan has lengthy hosted tens of millions of Afghans, most of whom fled in the course of the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation. Greater than half one million fled Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.