Pakistan has decided to evict over 1 million “foreigners” illegally living in the country for their alleged involvement in “funding and facilitating” terrorist activities, state media reported on Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.
Citing an unnamed source, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported that, out of a total of 1.1 million foreigners who are posing a serious threat to national security, all illegal residents will be expelled from the country in the first phase.
In the second phase, those with Afghan citizenship and, in the third phase, those with proof of residence cards will be evicted.
A plan for eviction of “illegally residing” Afghan refugees has also been approved “as the lot is involved in funding, facilitating and smuggling terrorists, whereas 700,000 Afghans have not renewed their proof of residence in Pakistan.”
The eviction plan has been devised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in consultation with all “stakeholders” and the Afghan government.
The development follows an ongoing crackdown on illegal Afghan refugees amid a fresh spate of terrorist attacks across the country.
If the plan is executed, it will be the biggest expulsion of refugees in the region in recent history.
Islamabad accuses Afghanistan’s Taliban government of “mentoring” militants loyal to outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has claimed responsibility for the deadly terrorist attacks.
Kabul, for its part, denies the charge and has reportedly ordered a crackdown against TTP militants based in Afghanistan.
According to the latest UN figures, some 1.3 million Afghans enjoy the status of registered refugees, while another 880,000 have legal status to stay in Pakistan.
At least 700 Afghans have been arrested since early September in Karachi alone, and hundreds more in other cities, police figures said.
Calling the arrests “indiscriminate”, the Afghan refugees, for their part, accuse police of extorting money and ignoring legal documents.