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Voluntary Repatriation: Afghan Refugees Return Home


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The ongoing process of deporting illegal Afghan refugees from Pakistan continued as 1,748 individuals, comprising 466 men, 315 women, and 967 children, were repatriated to Afghanistan on Tuesday. Even before the official announcement by the Pakistani government, a substantial number of Afghan nationals had initiated their return, driven by concerns of potential arrest. The cumulative figure of Afghan refugees voluntarily leaving Pakistan has now reached 440,124 as of December 19, underscoring the scale of the repatriation efforts currently underway.

Notably, 73 families were repatriated using 65 vehicles, reflecting the comprehensive nature of the deportation initiative. The government of Pakistan had previously set a deadline of October 31 for illegal and undocumented Afghan refugees to return to Afghanistan, emphasizing potential arrests and forced deportations for non-compliance. The focal point of this crackdown primarily targeted individuals lacking proper travel documents or valid papers. Those possessing legitimate documentation, and meeting the stipulated legal requirements, were permitted to continue residing in the country.

To streamline the repatriation process, the government implemented specific regulations regarding the financial aspects of the return. Deportees were permitted to carry a limited amount of local currency, subject to predefined limits. Any funds exceeding these limits were mandated to be transferred through official banking channels. Afghan nationals were subjected to their currency limit, set at 50,000 Afghan currency per family.

In a bid to enhance the effectiveness of the deportation efforts, the government employed geofencing technology and systematically gathered data on the residence locations of illegal immigrants. This comprehensive approach covered individuals ranging from rural villages to metropolitan areas, facilitating the identification and location of those residing in the country without proper authorization.

The deportation initiative underscores the Pakistani government’s commitment to addressing the issue of illegal Afghan refugees and maintaining a structured approach to immigration. The voluntary return of a substantial number of Afghan nationals is indicative of the success of the implemented measures, as individuals opt to comply with the set deadlines rather than face potential consequences.

As the repatriation process continues, the collaborative efforts between the Pakistani and Afghan governments demonstrate a commitment to addressing the complexities of immigration and ensuring a lawful and organized approach to the return of undocumented individuals.

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