Afghan Repatriation Begins From Torkham


Some 245 illegal immigrants were scheduled to be deported via Torkham at different intervals, as first convoy carrying 24 individuals had reached Khyber Pakhtunkhwa….reports Asian Lite News

The first group of Afghan immigrants are set to be repatriated to Afghanistan through the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Torkham border, Dawn reported on Thursday.

The first set of immigrants are being repatriated from the region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Dawn reported citing officials that some 245 illegal immigrants were scheduled to be deported via Torkham at different intervals, adding that the first convoy carrying 24 individuals, including men, women and kids from Muzaffarabad and Kotli areas, had reached Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“This was the first-ever repatriation via Torkham,” a senior official informed, adding that the movement of the illegal immigrants from Islamabad and PoK via Torkham was stopped on Wednesday for one day.

The official said 15 undocumented Afghan inmates imprisoned for petty crimes, including one from Abbottabad, four from Haripur and 10 from Peshawar, were also deported to Afghanistan. With 17 more imprisoned on Wednesday, a total of 288 immigrants were shifted from Punjab and deported via Torkham, Dawn reported.

Officials said that 4,119 illegal immigrants — including 1,236 men, 1,184 women, 1,650 children and 49 prisoners — were repatriated to Afghanistan on Wednesday. This brought the total of repatriated people from mid-September to 1,93,378, including 54,599 men, 42,164 women and 9,615 children.

The rise in repatriations comes after the Pakistan government ordered 1.7 million Afghans, “living illegally” in the country, to leave or face deportation, Dawn reported.

Meanwhile, Afghan refugees living without legal documents in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan were also leaving for their country through a voluntary repatriation programme of the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, via the border town of Chaman.

UNHCR officials in Quetta said that according to the International Organisation for Migration, 1,926 Afghan families consisting of 26,275 individuals were returned to Afghanistan from the Chaman border in October.

The number was almost four times higher than a month ago, when 520 Afghan families comprising 6,666 individuals returned.

The officials attributed the higher number of returnees mainly to fear of arrest, harassment and deportation.

The UNHCR officials said that the agency’s voluntary repatriation centre in the Baleli town of Quetta facilitated the return of 475 refugee households consisting of 2,078 individuals, Dawn reported.

“This represents a 132 per cent increase compared to the previous month’s 186 families comprising 896 individuals,” they said.

Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai earlier stated the number of returning Afghan refugees at over 66,000, including 26,000 refugees who reached Chaman from Karachi and other parts of Sindh.

Earlier on Wednesday, undocumented Afghan refugees continued to return to their home country via the Chaman border. Around 70 were sent to Chaman by authorities in tight security, while more families arrived from Karachi and other parts of Sindh, Dawn reported.

Meanwhile, officials say that despite being legally permitted to stay, several registered Afghan refugees are also choosing to return to their homeland, as the government has yet to decide on their repatriation. (ANI)

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