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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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    Firm Action: Deporting Foreign Nationals Ahead of Elections

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    Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti announced that the government is actively working to deport 10 foreign nationals engaged in political activities ahead of the general elections. Bugti emphasized that politics is strictly reserved for Pakistani citizens, and any foreign involvement is unacceptable. Addressing a news conference, he highlighted the government’s commitment to ensuring the exclusion of refugees, holding Afghan Citizen Cards, UNHCR Cards, or refugee status, from participating in political activities in Pakistan. The minister stressed that this stringent policy applies even to individuals with various residency cards or visas, and identified individuals are being promptly deported.

    Bugti underscored the determination of the caretaker government to hold peaceful elections despite general threats to political leadership. He acknowledged a specific threat to Maulana Fazlur Rehman but assured that security measures would be in place to safeguard the electoral process. The minister confirmed that paramilitary forces would be deployed to support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in ensuring maximum security during the upcoming elections.

    In response to the challenges posed by illegal aliens obtaining fake immigration documents, Bugti called for Pakistan to transition into a “hard state,” emphasizing the need for a robust approach to counter identity theft and maintain national security. He pointed out the economic impact of undocumented individuals engaging in smuggling and working in urban centers without contributing to the tax net. Bugti commended the reforms initiated by the current NADRA chairman, emphasizing the security role played by NADRA and advocating for its leadership by an officer of the rank of lieutenant general.

    Regarding the repatriation of Afghan refugees, Bugti stated that the Foreign Office had consulted with the Afghan government, and over 200,000 individuals have voluntarily left the country. He highlighted the ongoing efforts to address the issue, with more than 90% of those leaving doing so willingly.

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