Fact-check: Pakistan to expel refugees holding Afghan Citizen Cards

In its second phase, it aims to drive out those refugees who hold the Afghan Citizen Cards (ACC)

Geo Fact-Check

Online posts claim that Pakistan’s government will launch its second phase of expelling Afghan refugees from next month, and will now be deporting those who hold the Pakistan-issued Afghan Citizen Cards (ACC). 

The claim is true.


“More than one million undocumented Afghan refugees were deported,” claimed an X (Twitter) user, “In the second phase, which has started, Afghan Citizen Card holders will be deported.”

The post has been liked over 1,000 times and viewed over 22,000 times, to date.

Similar claims were also shared here, here and here.


The Pakistan government will indeed be launching a new round of deporting Afghan refugees from April, after Eid holidays, confirm government officials in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan has already expelled over half a million undocumented refugees, as part of its first phase from November 1 till date, despite criticism from the United Nations and rights groups over forcibly driving the refugees away.

In its second phase, it aims to drive out refugees who hold the Afghan Citizen Cards (ACC). The ACCs were provided by the Pakistan government to Afghan refugees in 2017, after processing and registering them with Pakistan’s National Database and Regulation Authority (NADRA).

On March 14, the home department in the Sindh province wrote to the police and intelligence officials belonging to the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI) in the province, directing them to complete mapping of ACC holders by March 25.

The letter further stated that as per the “illegal foreigners repatriation plan” shared by the federal secretary interior, the “repatriation of ACC card holders” will start from April. The authenticity of the letter was confirmed by Zia ul Hassan, Sindh’s minister for home.

Fact-check: Pakistan to expel refugees holding Afghan Citizen Cards

Over in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Latif ur Rehman, the public relations officer of the additional chief secretary home and tribal affairs, also told Geo Fact Check that the mapping of Afghan refugees, who possess the ACC cards, will be completed before Eid.

“There are an estimated 323,750 ACC card holders living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Rehman added.

The same was confirmed by Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, the home secretary in Punjab, in a written response to Geo Fact Check said: “We have started working on it [second phase of deporting Afghan refugees]. Due to election duty the focus was shifted but now again it is a priority.”

Aftab Akbar Durrani, the federal secretary for interior, did not respond to Geo Fact Check’s repeated requests for comments.

With additional reporting by Muhammad Binyameen Iqbal.

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