The Pakistani government has received backlash over a policy in which Afghans coming into the country are deported back to Afghanistan.
According to BBC News, about 200,000 Afghans have left Pakistan in the past two months before a deadline on Nov 1. The Pakistan government deportation policy entails that all undocumented migrants must depart from the country on Nov. 1; otherwise, they will face deportation, Time reported.
Although 1.7 million Afghan refugees currently live in Pakistan without documentation, other Afghans with documentation have been targeted as well. One Afghan man, Abdullah, told the BBC that the government targeted him even though he was issued an Afghan Citizen Card.
"I initially came here when the Russian war started, and I used to work in a brick kiln as a laborer. There are fewer job opportunities in Afghanistan," Abdullah said.
"I am very sad about leaving my house. I can't express in words the pain I felt leaving it. Our house was made of mud, and we built it ourselves. I planted many trees there. My neighbors and friends were in tears [when I left] - It's the cruel government that is making us leave."
Abdullah’s wife, who did not disclose her name, lamented the decision.
"We have nothing," she said tearfully. "We didn't do anything wrong; we used to work as a labor and feed the family."
Hameed Hakimi, associate fellow at the Asia-Pacific Programme and Europe Programme at Chatham House, noted that the Pakistan government has previously issued crackdowns on refugees.
“To deflect blame from the challenges that the government or the country overall is facing, they always raised the issue of illegal immigrants chiefly from Afghanistan,” Hakimi said.
Hakimi noted that the blame game was meant to “showcase that the country's problem largely arises from neighboring countries instead of focusing internally on their own on their own government's policies.”
Although Pakistan is currently facing multiple crises’ including dire economic prospects, humanitarian crises, and political instability, experts have erroneously blamed refugees for a recent wave of terrorism.
“From a domestic socio-political and security environment point of view, this is the time for the state to show that it's doing something about it. And the refugees seem to be a natural target of the state,” says Hakimi.
In the past four decades, Afghans have traveled across the border to neighboring Pakistan for safety, whether it was from the 1979 Soviet Invasion to the return of the Taliban in 2021.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Constantinis
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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