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Taliban slam Pakistan over its plan to expel over a million Afghan refugees..

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The Taliban government of Afghanistan slammed Pakistan’s purported plan to expel “foreigners” Islamabad had said were illegally living in the country, and asked its neighbour to reconsider its decision.

The Taliban interim administration spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid also rejected the allegations that Afghans are involved in terror activities in Pakistan.

“The behaviour of Pakistan against Afghan refugees is unacceptable. The Pakistani side should reconsider its plan. Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan’s security problems. As long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, that country should tolerate them,” Mujahid said on X.

Pakistan’s emphasis on ‘illegal immigrants’

Pakistan has announced a one-month ultimatum for all the “illegal immigrants” to leave the country.

Addressing a news conference in the capital Islamabad, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the government is giving a deadline to all foreigners living illegally to leave the country by November 1.

After the deadline, he said, all the illegal immigrants will be deported.

On Wednesday, Balochistan caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said that after the deadline ends, the government will confiscate the properties and businesses of illegal foreigners.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan earlier reported that out of a total of 1.1 million foreigners who are posing a serious threat to national security, all illegal residents will be expelled from the country in the first phase.

In the second phase, those with Afghan citizenship and in the third phase, those with proof of residence cards will be evicted.

A plan for eviction of “illegally residing” Afghan refugees has also been approved “as the lot is involved in funding, facilitating and smuggling terrorists whereas 700,000 Afghans have not renewed their proof of residence in Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s plan to expel Afghan refugees: Reading between the lines

It is pertinent to note that Afghan refugees in Pakistan began arriving through its porous border after Islamabad’s tactical and logistical support for Washington’s proxy war against Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, which ended up bolstering Taliban.

After 9/11 attack, the US invasion of Afghanistan led to more number of Afghan refugees into Pakistan. This time, Pakistan chose to directly assist the American war in Afghanistan, while the elements within its military-intelligence complex giving refuge to the fleeing Taliban militias into Pakistan.   

But after the Taliban retook power in Kabul, a spate of terrorist attacks across Pakistan have shaken the military-intelligence nexus of the country. The elections for civilian government have been postponed at least till the end of January, which many analysts have pointed out, are aimed at dealing with the question of refugees as well as that of the faltering Pakistani economy. 

If Pakistan’s refugee expulsion plan is executed, it will be the biggest expulsion of refugees in the region in the recent history.

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