The recent endorsement by Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir for the interim government’s decision to deport illegal foreigners, primarily Afghans, underscores the critical importance of addressing both security and economic concerns in Pakistan. General Munir’s support aligns with the government’s assertion that the move is not directed at any specific ethnic group but rather is a matter of national interest, emphasising the need to safeguard the country’s security and economic well-being.
The government’s decision to launch a deportation drive against unregistered foreigners, announced in October, particularly targeting illegal migrants, mostly Afghans, comes in the aftermath of extremist attacks and suicide bombings in Pakistan. Blamed on a proscribed militant network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), with leadership reportedly based in Afghanistan, these incidents highlighted the security threats posed by unregistered individuals. While the authorities did not explicitly target Afghans, evidence suggested their involvement in organized crime and a significant number of suicide bombings.
General Munir, during his visit to Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, received a detailed briefing on the security situation, including counterterrorism operations and the deportation of foreigners. He emphasised that illegal foreigners pose a serious threat to Pakistan’s security and economy. The endorsement of the repatriation process in a “humane and dignified manner” aligns with international norms, despite criticisms from rights organisations regarding arrests and deportations.
Moreover, General Munir’s acknowledgment of KP’s resolute support for security forces and the resulting stability in the province reflects a comprehensive strategy for achieving long-term stability. The collaboration between the military and the local population highlights the importance of unity in countering forces detrimental to peace.
Emphasising economic growth, especially in newly merged districts, further highlights the holistic approach to national prosperity and security. The focus on socio-economic development in the erstwhile tribal territories, now part of KP, emphasises the government’s commitment to addressing historical grievances and underdevelopment. The military’s commitment to safeguarding the nation is reaffirmed through General Munir’s statement, showcasing the collaborative efforts required for a stable and thriving Pakistan.
General Munir’s endorsement of the government’s decision reflects a balanced approach that addresses both security and economic concerns. The comprehensive strategy outlined not only emphasises the importance of repatriation of illegal foreigners for national security but also underscores the collaborative efforts required to achieve lasting stability and prosperity in Pakistan.