Pakistan Army backs decision to deport illegal foreigners
PAKISTAN’S powerful army on Tuesday extended its full support to the government’s decision to deport all illegal foreigners, including Afghan refugees, from November 1.
The caretaker government has set October 31 as the deadline for undocumented immigrants, including around 1.7 million Afghan refugees, to leave the country or risk imprisonment, deportation and forcible expulsion from November 1 as it intensified its crackdown against those involved in militancy and smuggling.
Pakistan’s decision has drawn widespread criticism, with organisations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Amnesty International calling on the government to rethink its plans. The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has also expressed its reservations over the move.
At the 260th Corps Commanders’ Conference held at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, top brass of the Pakistan Army resolved to fully support the federal government’s decision to repatriate and deport all illegal foreigners from November 1, the military said in a statement.
Army chief General Asim Munir directed all authorities concerned to support and facilitate the smooth repatriation and deportation of all illegal foreigners.
The army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.
Pakistan’s decision to evict all illegal foreigners comes amid a spike in attacks by the Pakistani Taliban, who have hideouts and bases in Afghanistan but regularly cross into Pakistan. The outlawed Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, often claim attacks on Pakistani security forces.