Afghans Who Fled in War and Living in Pakistan Face Threat of Deportation

An 18-year-old was apprehended by the Karachi, Pakistan, police, who confiscated his belongings and cash and sent him to a deportation camp. After three days, he was ordered to return to Afghanistan, a place he had never been.

As the country of 2 million Afghanistan nationals sought refuge in Pakistan. But a crackdown on migrants has made them the targets because of their unlawful presence.

The young man’s parents had left Afghanistan decades before. He was born and brought up in Pakistan. He said he didn’t have any relatives or friends in Afghanistan. He intended to return to Pakistan sooner, but the anti-migrant raids that were happening at the time made him wait.

Suicide bombing and terrorist assaults committed by Afghans in Pakistan have increased, according to the Pakistani administration.  The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), responsible for a lot of violence, has found sanctuary with the Afghan Taliban.

Although ties between the two countries have become more strained due to accusations and counter-accusations, the deportations seem to be an element of Pakistan’s larger strategy to put pressure on the Taliban administration in Afghanistan. The Taliban are under pressure from Pakistan to halt the attacks on Pakistan by terrorist organizations based in Afghanistan.

Since the crackdown in October, 600,000 Afghans have gone home, while at least one million are hiding out in Pakistan. They have withdrawn from public scrutiny by quitting their employment and seldom venturing out of their areas. Because of the fear of arrest, they have a hard time making money, purchasing food,  renting, or getting medical treatment.

Several generations of Afghan families in Karachi have never had proper documentation, according to lawyer Moniza Kakar. Without it, they won’t be able to go to places like hospitals or schools.

According to Kakar, there are occasions when people go hungry, and she asks the United Nations to provide supplies. The people living there used to journey into central Karachi to find work or medical care, but now they can’t afford to do so, and they are likely to be arrested.

Even before the crackdown, Afghans were in the crosshairs, and now there are rumors that Pakistan intends to deport all Afghans, regardless of their legal status. Pakistan claims they have not implemented any plans to do so.