PESHAWAR/LAKKI MARWAT: Nineteen out of 36 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have no undocumented foreigners any more, claim officials.

They, however, insisted that 18,665 illegal aliens continued to live in the rest of the province.

Officials told Dawn that the numbers of migrants without documentation were collected in a fresh survey.

They said currently, not a single illegal foreigner lived in Hangu, Shangla, Lower and Upper Dir, Battagram, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Charsadda, Lakki Marwat, Abbottabad, Torghar, Kolai-Palas, Buner, Swabi, Upper Waziristan, North Waziristan, Upper and Lower Kohistan and Mansehra districts.

Officials say 18,665 ‘illegal aliens’ continue to live in other districts

The officials, however, said five districts, including Upper Chital, Swat, Nowshera, Orakzai and Karak, had around one to 10 undocumented migrants each, followed by around 30 in Mardan and Lower Chitral districts each.

They said 50-100 illegal aliens lived in each of four districts, including Mohmand, Bajaur, Malakand and Kurram, while Haripur, Bannu, Lower Waziristan, Kohat and Khyber districts had 100-500 such foreigners each.

The officials said the fresh survey revealed that the provincial capital Peshawar had more than 500 illegal migrants.

They said the undocumented foreigners living in 17 districts of the province totalled 18,665.

The officials said 129 such migrants left for Afghanistan from Peshawar’s holding area on Wednesday and they included 33 from Peshawar, 11 prisoners from Peshawar Central Prison, 47 from Kohat, 36 from Chitral, one each from Abbottabad and Orakzai.

They added that those foreigners included 66 children, 27 men and 25 women.

The officials also said 51 Afghan migrants without documentation, including 32 children, 10 women and nine men returned to their country from the holding area in Khyber district.

They said 22 illegal migrants, including 14 from Chakwal district and eight from Islamabad, also left for Afghanistan from Peshawar’s holding area.

The officials said as voluntary repatriation of undocumented foreigners continued from Peshawar and Khyber districts, no such movement was reported in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir regions.

They said 10 illegal Afghan migrants, including three men and seven women, also returned to their country voluntarily via the Angoor Adda border crossing in Lower South Waziristan district on Wednesday.

The officials said a total of 2,225 undocumented Afghans left for their country in the day taking the tally of such aliens, who were repatriated since September 17, to 214,194.

The KP relief, rehabilitation and settlement department has already announced a state of emergency in Peshawar, Khyber and Nowshera districts from November 1 to ensure the smooth repatriation of undocumented foreigners, according to officials.

Meanwhile, three undocumented Afghan families set out for Afghanistan from Bannu district on Wednesday.

Bannu divisional commissioner Parvaiz Sabatkhel along with regional police officer Qasim Ali Khan and deputy commissioner Islahuddin visited the Sports Complex to see off those 35 foreigners.

They garlanded men, distributed sweets to children and women, and sent them off in vehicles for Torkham border crossing.

On the occasion, Mr Sabatkhel said the local administration was providing “complete support” to Afghans for return to their country with respect and dignity.

“Afghans spent a good time in Pakistan and their repatriation will be completed with happiness,” he said.

The departing Afghan families said they loved Pakistan because they got “respect and regard.”

They said they would remember the love Pakistanis showered on them during their return to Afghanistan.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2023

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