The Sindh interim Home Minister, retired Brigadier Haris Nawaz, announced that authorities have detained a staggering 1,700 Afghan nationals who were deemed to be “illegally residing” in Karachi. The revelation comes on the heels of a recent ultimatum from the caretaker government, giving all undocumented immigrants, including Afghan citizens, until October 31 to exit Pakistan voluntarily or face imprisonment and deportation to their respective countries.
Addressing the media outside the office of the West Zone deputy inspector general of police, Home Minister Nawaz reiterated the government’s commitment to deporting all illegal immigrants in Sindh, leaving no room for exceptions.
The government’s stringent stance on immigration was made clear by its decision to enforce strict border control measures. Movement across the border would now be subject to passports and visas, and electronic Afghan identity cards, known as e-tazkiras, would only be recognized until October 31. Beyond this deadline, authorities will initiate a crackdown targeting illegal properties and businesses operated by immigrants or in partnership with Pakistani nationals.
The nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants, particularly Afghan citizens, began in earnest following the government’s deadline. The Sindh Apex Committee, in a meeting attended by caretaker Chief Minister, retired Justice Maqbool Baqar, and Chief of Army Staff Gen Syed Asim Munir disclosed that areas heavily populated by illegal Afghan nationals in the province had been identified. The provincial government also confirmed that it had shared an action plan for implementing the federal government’s policy on repatriating illegal foreigners with the interior ministry.
In his recent statement to the media, Home Minister Nawaz revealed that the Sindh government is actively devising a mechanism that would safeguard registered immigrants from deportation. Committees led by concerned Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) and deputy commissioners are being formed, encompassing representatives from various institutions. These committees will oversee the enforcement of actions against illegal immigrants, ensuring that registered Afghans are not affected.
To facilitate the repatriation of illegal Afghan nationals, Nawaz outlined that they would be transported home by bus through the Chaman border in Balochistan. Registered Afghan citizens, on the other hand, would be exempted from deportation.
Turning his attention to the broader law and order situation in the province, Nawaz revealed that an “extraordinary policing policy” has been adopted, aimed at curbing street crimes and restoring lawfulness. He underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to preventing corrupt elements from regaining their foothold in society, vowing not to allow the previous system to persist.
Furthermore, the Home Minister pointed out that an artificial water shortage had emerged in Karachi following the government’s crackdown on illegal hydrants and water theft, hinting at the broader challenges faced by the administration in its quest to restore order and governance.
As the government’s immigration crackdown unfolds, the nation watches closely, keen to see the outcomes of this bold and far-reaching initiative.