ISLAMABAD: The Government of Pakistan had given 30 days to all Afghans, both UN refugees and illegal immigrants, to leave Pakistan.
It was decided at the Federal Cabinet meeting recently held at the Federal Capital extending 30 days in their stay in Pakistan.
Political sources said that it was the first response from the Government of Pakistan to mounting US pressure and threat of unilateral action inside Pakistan.
The Pakistan Government will be holding formal meeting with the UN officials, mainly the officials from the UNHCR, asking proper arrangement for repatriation of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan.
Official sources said that more than three million refugees are in Pakistan and now they are a serious burden on the weak economy of Pakistan compelling the Government to send them back to their country.
“Why should Pakistan spend billions on the unwanted guests when the US and Afghanistan had adopted a ‘hostile policy’ toward Pakistan blaming the country for all the ills of the Afghan Government,” a political observer asked the question.
Specific instructions are expected to be issued to all concerns at the Federal and Provincial level to implement the Cabinet decision to send Afghan back to their country. Security forces are expected to help the local authorities in encouraging the Afghans to leave Pakistan voluntarily so that force should not be used.
In case of any resistance, the police and civil armed forces can take action and round them up for deportation.
Majority of the Afghans are residing in KPK and Balochistan. Both the Governments had been asking the Federal Government to take a decision so that they should be sent back. However, there is a sizable number of Afghan migrants in Sindh and the Punjab.
In case of Karachi alone, most of the push cart business is the monopoly of the Afghan immigrants thriving with the support and encouragement of the Karachi Traffic Police.
The provincial Governments are expected to play the main role in repatriation of Afghans using the local forces and influence of the notables to encourage them to leave Pakistan voluntarily.
According to independent economists, more than a million jobs are occupied by the Afghans, both the refugees and illegal immigrants. When they leave most of the jobs will remain available to local people.
The Security establishment, mainly the DG ISPR, had already declared them a serious security risk for the country and its people suggesting, off and on, their early repatriation.