PESHAWAR: In a crackdown launched against illegal settlers, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police have arrested over 2,000 Afghan refugees in Peshawar.

The KP provincial government had set June 30 as a deadline for Afghan immigrants to get themselves registered in Pakistan.

With the deadline nearing its end, KP police began a crackdown against settlers avoiding registration in the provincial capital Peshawar.

According to the KP police, search operations are underway and over 2,000 illegal Afghan refugees have been arrested so far.

"Around 950 illegal Afghan immigrants were arrested from Cantonment area, 350 from Peshawar city and 700 Afghanis have been arrested from the city’s rural areas," police said, adding that the arrests have been made during operations carried out over the past month.

Moreover, at least 400 Afghan settlers have been deported to Afghanistan, police said.

‘KP cannot bear burden of Afghan refugees anymore’

KP government spokesman Mushtaq Ghani said the province cannot bear the economic burden of Afghan refugees anymore.

"We cannot bear the load of more than three million Afghanis in the province," he told Dawn on Tuesday.

Ghani said if federal government wished to extend the stay of Afghan settlers then it needs to establish refugee camps and shift the immigrants from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Punjab.

"After June 30, all Afghan refugees will be restricted to their camps and will not be allowed to move freely in the province," he said.