Afghans suffer mistreatment following expulsion from Pakistan

Afghans suffer mistreatment following expulsion from Pakistan

IANS Photo

Islamabad, November 8 (IANS) As the Pakistan government continues to expel illegal immigrants from the country, hundreds and thousands of Afghan nationals are facing major challenges at the crossings on both sides of the border.

Sadaam Khan, an Afghan living in Karachi, paid about 5 lakhs PKR to the transport truck to bring his 15-member family to the Torkham Border crossing after selling off his household things amid fears of being arrested by the Pakistani authorities.  

But upon reaching the Torkham border, Sadaam was told that the truck he hired to take him across the Torkham border, will not be allowed to cross as the driver does not have a visa nor permission to cross into Afghanistan.

This left Sadaam with no other option but to unload his things and sit at the border crossing with his family.

“It has been two days since we are sitting here. We are here with family, kids and women. There is no shelter here at the border. There is no facility to pray, no arrangements for food or water. No toilets for women and girls to use. This is a torture to my family. I came here fearing arrest. I was born in Pakistan; my kids were born in Pakistan. I have lived here for at least 45 years. And now, they gave us just one month to leave… and when we are leaving, they insult us and our dignity," he added.

The process of arrests and expulsion of illegal Afghan nationals from Pakistan started on November 1.

Till now, number of Afghans who have repatriated voluntarily to Afghanistan stands at 203,639.

Of these, at least 5,085 Afghan nationals did not have any legal documentation.

The Pakistan government aims to repatriate at least 1.7 million illegal Afghan nationals.

Experts say that the expulsion of illegal immigrants from the country is a reaction to the ignorant behaviour of the Taliban regime, which failed to take any action against the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan), aa banned outfit that has been spreading a wave of terror in Pakistan.  

But the fact is that the Afghan nationals, who have been living in Pakistan for decades, are being subjected to mistreatment by authorities on the border crossings, and even after they cross into Afghanistan, they are faced with an uncertain future, starting from a settling into makeshift tent villages.  

Anayat Ullah crossed over into Afghanistan and for the past two days, has been living in a tent with his family near Torkham.

He says that he and thousands of others have been subjected to mistreatment on both sides of the border.

“Pakistani officials took money, kept my things and told me to leave with a very small amount of things and some cash. When I came to Afghanistan; their officials came and took my phone, all the cash, as well the remaining things. Now, my family of nine kids and women, is living in a tent here. There is no facility of drinking water. No facility of bathroom or toilets. And if we ask the Afghan officials, they abuse us and even mistreat our families. It feels like we have been robbed by both. Pakistan doesn’t keep us and here, our so called homeland.. we still feel like refugees”, he said.

In the midst of the ongoing situation, which many say is a massive humanitarian crisis in the making, both governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are accusing each other with allegations.