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Afghan migrants in Pakistan face multifaceted challenges amid forced deportation

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Pakistan stands as a primary destination for migrants seeking to depart from Afghanistan. While many migrants temporarily reside in Pakistan, they pursue their migration cases in other countries, though there’s no guarantee they won’t be targeted during their stay. In the months following Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban regime, over 600,000 individuals legally or illegally crossed into Pakistan.

Over the past nearly three years, Afghan migrants have encountered nightly police raids, temporary housing issues, neglect of their migration cases, and the threat of forced deportation in Pakistan. Moreover, in many instances, they have become victims of armed attacks and abductions, as evidenced by the recent disappearance of three Afghan migrants who remain missing after three days.

Mir Ahmad Roofi, head of the Afghan Migrant Council in Islamabad, expressed concerns to the media, highlighting the arrival of three individuals on Thursday, with their families approaching the police and relevant authorities without receiving any positive or negative responses. Another individual, newly arrived in Pakistan, met a tragic fate, underscoring growing concerns.

While precise statistics on the targeting of Afghan migrants in Pakistan are unavailable, reports suggest that Afghan migrants face complex and multifaceted challenges, exposing them to serious harm and exploitation by various groups, in addition to the risk of forced deportation.

The head of the Afghan Migrant Council in Pakistan, while expressing concern about this situation to the media, has warned of what is referred to as the occurrence of “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The findings of Khaama Press, obtained from examining reports in the media of Afghanistan and Pakistan, indicate that Afghan citizens have been targeted in various parts of Pakistan for multiple reasons. This targeting, predominantly by Pakistani police, emerges as the most prominent pattern in this trend, which has been repeated in several instances. Another pattern observed from the reports is abduction by armed thieves or encountering armed robbers, with the latest case being a kidnapping on Thursday. These two patterns indicate that a significant portion of migrants targeted in Pakistan over the past two years have fallen victim to extortion by government entities or armed groups.

A credible source, unwilling to be named in the report, informed Khaama Press that Pakistani police, when extorting migrants, falsely record deviations in the victims’ confessions to make it appear as if they were targeted by thieves, which is not the case. Additionally, another report on migrants, notable for its comprehensive nature and earning Afghanistan’s Journalist of the Year award, demonstrates that police harassment of Afghan migrants is the most common form of persecution they face in Pakistan.

Samiullah Azizi, head of the International Federation of Human Rights Defenders in Exile, informed the media that a significant portion of Afghan migrants in Pakistan comprises society’s elite and intellectuals who fled after the country’s collapse. He stated, “Here in Pakistan, most are human rights defenders, experts, university professors, judges, journalists, poets, and all individuals at risk.”

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