Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said on Friday that former prime minister Imran Khan’s statement about the repatriation of Afghan refugees was aimed at “gaining the sympathy” of the interim Afghan government.

Last month, the caretaker government launched a nationwide campaign to deport undocumented foreign nationals, primarily targeting Afghans. Despite criticism from Afghanistan and international observers, the government maintains that the campaign wasn’t directed towards any specific ethnicity.

Over four million Afghans reside in Pakistan, with an estimated 1.7 million lacking proper documentation. Since the campaign’s inception, thousands of Afghans have returned home through the Torkham and Chaman border crossings.

On Thursday, Imran Khan — who is currently incarcerated in Adiala Jail —issued a statement on X (formerly Twitter), criticising the treatment allegedly being meted out to Afghan refugees.

The former PTI chief said that treating refugees with respect was a “national obligation” while also talking about the traditional and historical links between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said Pakistan had accommodated Afghan refugees for close to four decades and the effects of decades of hospitality were being wasted due to a “deficient plan”.

The PTI chief said 1.5 million refugees were not that much of a burden on a population of 250 million.

Responding to a question about the former premier’s statement during a press conference in Quetta, Solangi said: “It seems to me, that an attempt is being made to create an environment to garner the sympathy of Afghanistan’s government […] and indirectly, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members sent by them and create such an atmosphere in the next elections that his party gains an advantage in a way over other political parties.”

The information minister said if this was so, then it would be most “unfortunate because the need is that all parties have equal security and opportunity in the elections”.

Solangi said it was necessary to ask the PTI chief and his aides under which agreement or without asking the Parliament, “thousands of TTP terrorists” were allowed to resettle in Pakistan before the end of the PTI government’s term.

He also questioned the authenticity of Imran’s post, saying that the facility to post on social media about anything was not being provided to the PTI chief. He asked whether the statement had indeed been posted by him.

“If this really is his opinion, I wish that he had also spoken about the difficulties of 250m Pakistanis instead of trying to represent the illegal Afghans in Pakistan,” he said.

Comments

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Builder Dec 08, 2023 07:09pm
We hosted them for a very long time (that would be a historical record perhaps). In fact, they should have confined to border camps all along. They destroyed socio-economic fabric of the country.
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KU Dec 08, 2023 07:45pm
Let's register another case against IK, this time for inciting sympathy. At least it would divert the attention of people in economic misery, for a few minutes.
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Maqbool Dec 08, 2023 09:00pm
Those supporting illegal refugees must also give an undertaking that they personally will finance the cost of those refugees to the Pakistan economy , including those who have gone to Courts. Specially the replacement of their consumption of Gas, Water, Bijli , atta, sugar, etc in sort to the 250 million .
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PakSTARone Dec 08, 2023 09:02pm
How is he tweeting from prison? Imran's relationship with TTP should be looked into. If PTI comes to power, will they reverse this decision?
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Anila Qadri Dec 08, 2023 09:51pm
This caretaker is no neutral!
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Usman Dec 08, 2023 10:12pm
Imran wants them as thats how he use to fill his jalsas.with them gone what will.pti do.
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Usman Dec 08, 2023 10:13pm
@PakSTARone, does pti even exist to come in to power.its a gone down the drain.
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