(CTN NEWS) – In a significant move aimed at enhancing national security and addressing immigration-related challenges, the Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sarfaraz Bugti, has announced a deadline for all illegal immigrants to leave the country voluntarily.
Those who fail to comply by the deadline, set for November 1, face the risk of deportation and the seizure of their properties and businesses within Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Minister Bugti stressed the urgency of the situation, citing the involvement of illegal Afghan nationals in a substantial number of security incidents, including suicide bombings.
He emphasized that the primary responsibility of the government is the safety and security of the Pakistani people.
The crackdown on illegal immigrants will encompass not only Afghan nationals but all individuals residing in Pakistan without proper legal documentation.
نگران وزیراعظم انوارالحق کاکڑ کی زیر صدارت نیشنل ایکشن پلان کی ایپکس کمیٹی کا اجلاس آج اسلام آباد میں منعقد ہوا۔ اس اجلاس میں چیف آف آرمی سٹاف، متعلقہ وفاقی وزراء، صوبائی وزرائے اعلیٰ اور قانو ن نافذ کرنے والے تمام سِول اور عسکری اداروں کے سر براہان ایک ہی چھت کے نیچے موجود… pic.twitter.com/vGjsOhBFW2
— Prime Minister's Office (@PakPMO) October 3, 2023
ORIGINAL STORY: Pakistan’s Immigration Challenge: 4.2 Millions of Afghan Nationals Reside Illegally
Bugti revealed that an estimated 4.2 million Afghan nationals currently reside in Pakistan, with approximately three million living illegally without proper documentation.
The interior minister clarified that Pakistan’s focus extends beyond Afghan immigrants, emphasizing that the government’s objective is to address all instances of illegal immigration.
He highlighted the unique leniency of Pakistan’s immigration policies, noting that the country permits entry even without legal travel documents or passports.
To execute this comprehensive crackdown, a dedicated task force comprising officials from law enforcement and intelligence agencies has been established.
This task force will take rigorous measures against individuals with illegal computerized national identity cards (CNICs) and will also target their assets and properties.
Minister Bugti also announced the creation of a universal helpline number and a web portal to enable citizens to report illegal activities related to smuggling. The identities of informants will be kept confidential, ensuring their safety.
The government has expressed its commitment to ensuring that individuals with legally obtained visas will not be affected by these actions.
Additionally, it has issued a stern warning against any Pakistani citizens involved in illegal businesses or providing accommodation to undocumented foreigners.
Apex Committee Takes Decisive Actions to Strengthen National Security
Prior to this announcement, the Apex Committee of the National Action Plan convened under the leadership of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
The committee meeting was attended by key federal ministers, provincial chief ministers, heads of civil and military agencies, and the Chief of Army Staff.
They conducted an in-depth assessment of the country’s internal security situation, reaffirming their commitment to upholding the rule of law and the constitution.
د پاکستاني چارواکو له پرله پسې ژمنو سره سره، په پاکستان کې د پولیسو له لوري د افغان کډوالو نیول او ځورول، لاهم دوام لري.
د تیرو دوو اونیو په ترڅ کې ګڼ شمېر افغانان د پاکستان په مختلفو ساحو کې نیول شوي. په اسلام آباد او شاوخوا سیمو کې چې اکثریت اسناد لرونکي کډوال پکې میشت دي؛
— Embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad (@AfghanembassyI1) October 3, 2023
The committee’s decisions included the expulsion of illegal foreign nationals, the formalization of border movement procedures requiring passports and visas, and action against illegal immigration.
A task force has also been formed to investigate fake identity cards, businesses, and properties owned by illegal foreign nationals.
The committee reiterated its determination to enhance ongoing operations against various criminal activities, including drug trafficking, hoarding, food and currency smuggling, illegal remittances, and power theft.
It emphasized that the use of force is the sole prerogative of the state and will not be tolerated by any individual or group.
The committee also emphasized the importance of respecting religious freedom and minority rights, making it clear that the state would protect the rights of minorities as guaranteed by Islam and the constitution.
It urged strict enforcement of cyber laws to combat propaganda and disinformation.
In parallel efforts, the Punjab Home Department has requested details of illegally residing foreigners from deputy commissioners across the province to prepare a strategy for their return, with cooperation from embassies.
Similarly, the Sindh Home Department has established committees at various levels to oversee the expulsion of illegal foreigners in the province and prevent their reentry.
While no specific deadline has been set for the completion of the deportation process, it is expected to occur in a 10-week operation following the November 1 deadline, keeping in mind the upcoming national elections scheduled for the last week of January.
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