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ISLAMABAD: On the heels of the reports suggesting a blanket crackdown, against the Afghan refugees, on part of the state, Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti has denied that any crackdown specific to Afghan immigrants has been launched in the country, insisting that the crackdown is directed against all the illegal “aliens.”

“No crackdown is launched against the Afghan refugees, specifically—instead—this crackdown is aimed at all the illegal aliens residing in Pakistan,” he told the Senate on Monday.

The caretaker minister was responding to a motion jointly moved in the house by Shafiq Tareen, Tahir Bizinjo and Hidayatullah Khan on the “sudden decision of federal government to expel the Afghan refugees from Pakistan on a very short time period and without announcing any policy which is badly affecting the poor refugees.”

In his reply, Bugti said, “The term ‘Afghan refugees’ has been used in this motion which is not right. All the Afghan refugees who have valid documents to stay in Pakistan are not being expelled. All those foreigners who are illegally residing here are being expelled.”

Bugti continued, “Valid documents are necessary for foreigners to stay here—even in Afghanistan valid documents are required from foreigners for staying there.”

Till date, he said, 290,000 illegal Afghan immigrants have been sent back to their home country.

“Every possible assistance is being extended to the Afghans returning to their homeland. This impression is wrong that all the Afghans staying in Pakistan are subjected to a blanket crackdown,” the caretaker minister claimed.

Tareen, one of the movers of the motion, said the caretaker government should review its policy on Afghan refugees. “Afghans are forcefully nabbed and thrown out of this country. There is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for Afghans,” the senator alleged.

Bizinjo urged the caretaker government and the relevant authorities to pay heed to the concerns raised by the United Nations and human rights organisations on the forceful expulsion of the Afghans.

Leader of the House in Senate Ishaq Dar urged the caretaker government to ensure dignified return of the Afghan refugees.

“It is being said that the belongings of the Afghan refugees, who are returning to their homeland, are being snatched from them. This is extremely sad. They should be allowed to take all their possessions with them in a dignified way,” he said.

Dar questioned: Who floated the idea to engage Taliban in Afghanistan and release hardcore terrorist from the jails in the name of reconciliatory measures?

He asked the caretaker government and the authorities concerned to share a “clear-cut programme” with Senate on dealing with the terrorism.

Meanwhile, amidst clear division, the Senate passed a resolution, by majority vote, urging the Supreme Court to reconsider its verdict on certain provisions of the Army Act wherein the apex court declared the military courts as unconstitutional. Dilawar Khan moved this resolution.

“Within the country’s constitutional framework, the trial of individuals accused of anti-state vandalism and violence under the Army Act serves as a deterrent against such acts,” the resolution stated.

The house was adjourned till today (Tuesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Ash Chak Nov 14, 2023 06:57am
Its not just the Afghans...Its against all the illegal aliens. From where Mars? How does this nincompoop expect us to swallow this?
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