Saturday, November 04, 2023
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No arrests of undocumented Afghans made in KP

"Voluntary return is going smoothly,” KP govt official says

An Afghan refugee family living in Pakistan arrives outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) repatriation center, some 25 Km from Peshawar on October 25, 2023. — AFP
An Afghan refugee family living in Pakistan arrives outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) repatriation center, some 25 Km from Peshawar on October 25, 2023. — AFP

  • Officials say repatriation continuing smoothly, so no action taken.
  • Around 147,949 documented, undocumented Afghans have returned.
  • Total number of returnees has crossed 147,949 since Sept 17.


PESHAWAR: No arrests of illegal foreigners have been made from any part of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after the deadline for them to leave Pakistan expired on November 1 this week, The News reported on Saturday.

So far, at least 147,949 documented and undocumented Afghan nationals have returned to their home in Afghanistan via the Torkham border since September 17.

The officials told The News that they want the process to smoothly continue, which is why no action has been taken against illegal foreigners so far.

At certain points in the province, police officers and citizens were also seen offering food, water and juices to the children, elderly citizens, men and women, who were returning to Afghanistan after living in Pakistan for decades.

“Not a single undocumented Afghan has been held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa despite the end of the deadline as the voluntary return is going smoothly,” Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Abid Majeed told The News.

The official said that 122 of the 361 undocumented foreigners, held under the 14C Foreigners Act before the drive, have been repatriated as the courts had issued orders to deport them. As many as 51 of them were repatriated on Wednesday, seven on Thursday and 64 on Friday.

According to the official figures, 19,344 Afghans, including those who opted to return despite having visas or PoR cards, have returned via Torkham on the last day. The total figure has crossed 147,949 since September 17.

Another 294 returned via the Angoor Adda border. The number of those returning voluntarily increased in the last few days of October when the deadline was about to end.

The authorities said that different agencies had mapped 49,690 illegal foreigners in different parts of KP. “The officials have received 535 calls on toll-free number 1700 regarding the undocumented foreigners. Out of these 477 were for identification, 54 for information while four were to lodge complaints,” said an official.

The KP government has set up a control room in the Home Department where officers from district administration, police, agencies, Federal Investigation Agency, immigration and other departments would be present to monitor the process of repatriation.

“The police along with the district administration will shift undocumented foreigners to the holding points from where they will be taken to the Torkham border. The local police will escort the vehicles carrying undocumented foreigners coming from other provinces to the holding point in Landikotal,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Operations, Kashif Aftab Abbasi told reporters.

According to the government, action would be taken against foreigners who did not possess documents to legalise their stay in Pakistan.

No action is being taken against Afghans who possess Proof of Registration (PoR) Cards issued by the UNHCR, the Afghan Citizens Cards and valid visas. Action is also planned against those who obtained Pakistani CNICs.