PESHAWAR: The deportation of seven Pakistani nationals to Afghanistan was stopped when authorities involved in processing repatriation of illegal immigrants confirmed their identities on Saturday night, according to sources.
They said that the individuals were arrested in Punjab after they failed to confirm their identity. They said that the seven people could not speak Urdu or Punjabi and faced issues in communicating with the authorities to tell them that they were Pakistani nationals.
“They were arrested under Section 14 of Foreigners Act, 1946,” an official said. However, he added, since the data was available with National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), they were identified and sent back to Punjab.
The official also said that two cases were reported in the past where ‘jail inmates’ had tried to escape and gave wrong information to authorities. He said that both the Pakistani prisoners were identified as Pakistani citizens and were sent back to jail in Punjab.
“They tried to escape. They had planned to enter Pakistan again via Ghulam Khan border crossing,” the official said. He said that the case of seven individuals was totally different as they were not prisoners but failed to prove their identities. He added that they were taken into custody and directly brought to the border crossing for repatriation to Afghanistan.
He said that Nadra had all the details of Pakistani nationals. He added that during the repatriation of illegal immigrants, they also maintained details of every adult Afghan male in the database for future use.
According to official statistics, a total of 594 individuals, arrested under Foreigners Act, were brought from Punjab for their repatriation to Afghanistan. However, only 565 could be deported and the remaining 29, who turned out to be Pakistanis, were sent back to Punjab.
Officials stated that data of every single individual being repatriated to Afghanistan was part of Nadra record. He said that initially, data of every single Afghan illegal immigrant was being maintained but later the government exempted women and children below the age of 14 from it.
On Sunday, authorities deported 398 illegal immigrants with 333 from Peshawar and 65 from Khyber, they said.
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2023