Kabul to be engaged diplomatically on repatriation of illegal foreigners

Published November 27, 2023
Afghan refugees queue outside a police station for their data verification by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) in Karachi on Nov 8, 2023. — AFP/File
Afghan refugees queue outside a police station for their data verification by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) in Karachi on Nov 8, 2023. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: Authorities have decided to engage Kabul and other foreign missions diplomatically to stress importance of seamless repatriation of illegal foreigners, according to documents.

The documents showed that participants of a meeting decided to assure Afghan embassy in the federal capital and other foreign missions about Pakistan’s all out support to repatriation of illegal foreigners with dignity and respect.

“It was also decided that the complaints and allegations of maltreatment or deportation of legal foreigners may be scrutinised to determine the facts on case to case basis and the outcome should be shared with the ministry of foreign affairs for briefing international community whenever required,” said the documents.

The meeting, held on Saturday in the federal capital, decided that voluntary repatriation should be facilitated with full motivation alongside planned deportation in consultation with the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Meeting decides to scrutinise complaints about deportation of legal immigrants

Officials said that instances of deportation of Afghan nationals possessing Proof of Registration (PoR) cards and Afghan Citizen Card (ACC) were reported, which was not part of the current phase of illegal foreigners repatriation plan (IFRP). They termed it the reason for holding the meeting.

They said that Afghan border authorities had halted intake of deportees on the pretext that they were in possession of valid documents, which permitted their stay in Pakistan.

The meeting decided to take an undertaking about non-possession of PoR and ACC from the deportees at the time of generating Nadra manifest at transit points, said the documents. The undertaking could be in the form of endorsement of finger thumb impression against the picture on the manifest so that it could be provided as evidence whenever challenged.

A senior official said that the Nadra manifest, generated at the transit point, was not backed with PoR and ACC data besides blocked Computerised National Identity Cards. He added that the verification process of PoR and ACC holders was not wholesome across the board which created problems for deportation at the border.

He also suggested that the control rooms of ministry of interior and those in provinces, with active and manned foreigner nationals’ security dashboard, should be approached telephonically for verification of PoR and ACC holders.

Another official said that following the concerns expressed by Afghan side on deportation of PoR and ACC holders, halting the deportation process was not advisable instead alternate crossing points might be utilised for the purpose.

Officials said that Afghan government was desirous that consultation should be made with its consulates during the deportation process for verification of the nationality of the deportees.

Others, however, said that those illegal foreigners, who were denied identification by foreign missions including the Afghan embassy, would face hardships arrest and confinement to jails under the laws.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2023

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