Social Issues

Pakistan says will not extend deadline for illegal immigrants to leave

Islamabad, Oct 26 (EFE).- Pakistan’s government on Thursday announced that the deadline for the illegal residents to leave the country will not be extended.

Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said at a press conference in Islamabad that those who stayed beyond the ultimatum will be returned to their respective countries by force.

“After November 1, no compromise will be made in the evacuation of illegal residents,” said Bugti.

Earlier, the government had given around a month to those illegally residing foreign nationals to leave the country or face expulsion.

An estimated 4.4 million registered and unregistered Afghans have been living in Pakistan since they fled their country after the then-Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

Around 1.73 million of them are estimated to be living in Pakistan illegally.

Bugti said that all the preparations regarding the repatriation program have been completed.

The government has made centers named as holding centers, where the immigrants will be kept before repatriation.

“They will not be sent to jails but kept in those holding centers and then sent out of Pakistan,” revealed the minister.

He said those housed in these centers will be provided with medical facilities, food and water, and children, women and the elderly will be treated with dignity and respect.

The interior minister announced that those leaving will be allowed to take 50 thousand rupees ($180) per family in the form of cash.

A banking channel or other means are being worked on to help those wishing to take more than the permitted amount.

The caretaker interior minister further said that action would be taken against Pakistani nationals who help these foreign nationals remain in the country after the deadline, whether for cultivation of crops or by accommodating them in their homes.

“We have done geofencing, we have identified where they are, the state has complete know-how,” disclosed the minister.

“For those who will go voluntarily, there will obviously be fewer difficulties, for those whom we will take, there will obviously be more difficulties for them,” Bugti warned. EFE


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