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    Pakistan to Deport Afghan Refugees by February 29

    Civil societyDemocracyPakistan to Deport Afghan Refugees by February 29
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    Pakistan to Deport Afghan Refugees by February 29

    Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said that Pakistan can no longer compromise its national security by accommodating huge number of undocumented immigrants.

    Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday said that Pakistan can no longer compromise its national security by accommodating huge number of undocumented immigrants. He explained the decision, saying that Pakistan stood at the crossroads of history and that the governments across the world were adapting to a new era of mass migration linked to conflict, climate change, and economic opportunism.

    Kakar said this in a signed article published in The Telegraph on Sunday. He also cited the UK’s plan to deport illegal Rawandan immigrants as a sign of pressure.

    Similarly, he said, France was also struggling, while Italy had expressed fears that it might become “Europe’s refugee camp”. After opening its arms to several million refugees in recent years, Germany was also feeling the strain, prompting the announcement of tough new deportation measures. The situation in the United States was no easier, he remarked in his article.

    “Pakistan’s problem is of a different magnitude altogether. Over the last three to four decades, between four and five million migrants (roughly the population of Ireland) have arrived. Many have no right to remain. Despite being a non-signatory to 1951 Convention on Refugees (and its 1967 Protocol), we have generously accommodated the single largest caseload of refugees,” Kakar wrote.

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    The Pakistani care-taker Prime Minister’s statement comes close on the heels of a deadly suidcide attack on 15 December carried out by a lesser-known Taliban group in Pakistan on a regional police headquarters and two military posts in northwest Pakistan. The attack further inflamed tensions between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban.

    On the following day, the Pakistan government, through a cabinet decision, informed that it had extended a deadline to allow tens of thousands of Afghans waiting to be resettled in a third nation to stay in the country for two more months.

    Finalize Evacuation Agreements

    The extension will allow for Afghan refugees to stay on in Pakistan until February 29, instead of the earlier end-December deadline for them to leave the country.

    “These measures are aimed at encouraging Afghans residing illegally in Pakistan to obtain legal documents or finalize evacuation agreements as soon as possible in a third country,” Pakistan’s Information Minister Murtaza Solangi told journalists.

    A fine of US$100 will be imposed on those staying on in the country beyond the 29 February deadline.

    The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says that up to half a million Afghans have returned to their country since Pakistan announced early October that it would deport more than 1.7 million “undocumented foreigners,” most of whom are Afghans.

    There is evidence of American pressure on Pakistan to announce the extension, as it came days after the visit to Pakistan by Thomas West, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan. He is known to have spoken to Pakistani officials about “the need to protect Afghan refugees,” nearly 20.000 of whom are due to be resettled in the United States.

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