The ruling Taliban government of Afghanistan on Wednesday said that Pakistan’s decision to expel undocumented Afghan nationals was 'unacceptable' and urged authorities to revisit the policy.
The statement was expressed by Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday.
The statement comes a day after the caretaker government gave an ultimatum to all undocumented immigrants, including Afghan nationals, to leave Pakistan by Nov 1, or risk imprisonment and deportation to their respective countries.
The apex committee meeting headed by Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and attended by the army chief, among others took the decision.
The committee also decided that movement across the border would be subject to passports and visas, while electronic Afghan identity cards would only be accepted until Oct 31.
After the deadline, the authorities would conduct operation targeting illegal properties and businesses owned by immigrants or those being run in collaboration with Pakistani nationals.
In a statement posted on social media platform X (erstwhile Twitter) in both Urdu and English today, Mujahid said the treatment of Afghan refugees in Pakistan was unacceptable and authorities should revise their policy in this regard.
He said Afghan refugees were not involved in Pakistan’s security problems and as long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, Pakistan should tolerate them.
The Pakistani Foreign Office has yet to issue a statement on this matter.
In addition to the Afghan spokesperson’s criticism, the policy announcement has triggered concerns from several quarters.
In a post on X today, former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar said the government was once again playing football with refugees and manipulating for some other objectives.
In a statement posted on X on Tuesday, Afghanistan’s embassy said around 1,000 Afghans were detained in the past two weeks most of which having a legal right to be in Pakistan.
Besides, Amnesty International also called out the Pakistani government for creating a space of ‘fear’ for refugees.
A United Nations official also opposed the deadline. “Any refugee return must be voluntary and without any pressure to ensure protection for those seeking safety,” Qaisar Khan Afridi, an official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told media.