KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police in a number of raids have arrested a minimum of 1,200 Afghan nationals, together with ladies and youngsters, who entered the southern port metropolis of Karachi with out legitimate journey paperwork, officers stated Thursday.
The arrests drew criticism from round Afghanistan after photographs of locked-up Afghan kids have been circulated on-line. The arrests underscored the strained relations between the 2 South Asian neighbors.
Police and native authorities officers stated the detainees shall be deported to Afghanistan after serving their sentences or when the paperwork for his or her launch is accomplished by their legal professionals.
Pakistani officers declare that many of the detainees want to return dwelling.
Though Pakistan routinely makes such arrests, a number of and apparently coordinated raids have been launched starting in October to detain Afghans remaining in Karachi and elsewhere with out legitimate paperwork.
Gul Din, an official on the Afghan Consulate in Karachi, stated he had contacted Pakistan concerning the “speedy and dignified return” of the Afghan residents to their homeland.
Photos of some Afghan kids stuffed in a cell of the central jail in Karachi have gone viral on social media, making pleas for his or her launch together with their mother and father.
At the least 139 Afghan ladies and 165 kids are amongst these being held in a high-security jail in Karachi, in line with a report launched this month by Pakistan’s Nationwide Human Rights Fee. The report was primarily based on interviews with scores of jailed Afghan detainees.
Within the Afghan capital Kabul, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the international ministry, stated embassy officers had raised their issues throughout conferences with their Pakistani counterparts.
“The Pakistani authorities have repeatedly promised the speedy launch of those detainees,” he informed The Related Press, saying that up to now Pakistan has did not “fulfill the dedication.”
“We imagine that such degrading remedy of Afghans in Pakistan is just not within the curiosity of any get together,” Balkhi stated. He stated Afghans have been suggested to not enter Pakistan “except completely obligatory and with out correct documentation.”
In Karachi, Murtaza Wahab, a spokesman for the Sindh provincial authorities, stated that police had lately arrested solely these Afghans dwelling within the province with out legitimate paperwork. He stated such detainees can be deported. He didn’t say what number of Afghans have been arrested for dwelling illegally in Sindh this yr.
However Moniza Kakar, a lawyer who helps such Afghan detainees, stated a minimum of 1,400 Afghans are being held in Karachi’s jails. “We’re not certain precisely what number of Afghans are at present being held in prisons in Pakistan. To this point we have now facilitated the discharge of a whole bunch of Afghans to their nation,” she stated.
Kakar stated a lot of pregnant Afghan ladies who fled Afghanistan to hunt medical remedy and for different causes are amongst these detained in Karachi and elsewhere in Sindh province. She stated that one of many Afghan detainees had lately given start to a baby within the Hyderabad jail.
Kakar stated dozens of Afghans have been deported to Afghanistan final month after serving their sentences, that are normally as much as two months. Nonetheless, she urged that such sentences needs to be solely verbal and symbolic – in order that the detainees may very well be rapidly returned to their international locations.
Tens of millions of Afghans fled to Pakistan through the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of their nation, creating one of many world’s largest refugee populations. Since then, Pakistan has been internet hosting Afghans, encouraging them to register with the United Nations and native authorities to keep away from any danger of deportation.
Based on a current UN-backed survey, 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan.
“After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Afghan Taliban, there was a drastic enhance in Afghans searching for to enter Pakistan for a bunch of causes starting from fleeing persecution, searching for medical help and searching for employment alternatives,” the report launched by the Nationwide Fee. on Human Rights final week stated.
Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan have a historical past of bitter relations.
This month, Pakistan twice briefly closed a key border crossing to commerce on the southwestern metropolis of Chaman after clashes erupted between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban forces over the fencing of a distant border village.
The Taliban seized energy in Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, sweeping into the capital, Kabul, and taking on the remainder of the nation as US and NATO forces have been within the last weeks of their withdrawal after 20 years of struggle. Since then, greater than 100,000 Afghans have arrived in Pakistan to flee persecution at dwelling, though Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers have introduced amnesty, urging Afghan residents to not depart the nation.
Ahmed from Islamabad. Related Press author Riazat Butt in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this story.
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