Arrest of Afghan refugees in Pakistan sparks concerns

KABUL/ ISLAMABAD (SW) – Reports about the arrest of more than 1,100 Afghan citizens who were immigrants in Pakistan have sparked concerns as, the Pakistani government has not provided any details about the reason for this arrest.

Hamid Karzai, the former Afghan president has issued a statement expressing his concern, and asked Pakistan to deal with Afghan immigrants according to international norms.

However, the Afghan embassy in Pakistan has announced that 30 Afghan citizens who were imprisoned in the city of Karachi have been released. This number of Afghan citizens were released from Pakistani prisons on Monday and were transferred back to the country.

They were arrested by the Pakistani police for not having legal residence documents. The Afghan embassy in Pakistan said that these people were released as a result of diplomatic efforts. It is said that there are women and children among those arrested.

Abdul Razzaq Barq, a Pakistani freelance journalist, told Salam Watandar: “For Afghan citizens who have been detained, prisons named Landi Prison, Central Prison, Homan Prison and a prison called Maktab have been used.”

Mass arrest of Afghan immigrants in Pakistan has also raised concerns among immigrants in Pakistan.

Sami-ul-Rahman Rahmani, an Afghan journalist who lives in Pakistan, considered the situation of Afghan immigrants in Pakistan to be alarming and demands attention from human rights institutions and the government of Pakistan.

“Afghan immigrants in Pakistan are in a bad situation with so many economic problems and lack of accommodation and visa problems. Those who came legally, their visas have expired but it is not extended. If human rights defenders do not pay attention to the situation of immigrants, the situation will worsen and they will be expelled from Pakistan.”

The expiration of the visas of Afghan migrants in Pakistan has exposed hundreds of migrants to forced deportation.

Khoban Hassal, a women’s rights activist who is now a migrant in Pakistan, told Salam Watandar: “Unfortunately, hundreds of Afghan migrants who fled to Pakistan out of fear of the Islamic Emirate are facing the risk of forced deportation when their visas expire. Our request to the international community, the United Nations and human rights institutions is to pay immediate attention to the humanitarian situation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan”.

Latifah Shojaei, one of the soldiers of the previous government who went to Pakistan after the fall of the republic, calls the situation of immigrants in this country alarming. “I have been in Pakistan for five months, there are many problems here, there are problems with housing, problems with expenses, food, clothes, and illness, people do not have rent and live in tents.”