Pakistan’s inhumane face has been uncovered for one more time as it charges hundreds of dollars in Exit Permit Fee from Afghan refugees who settled in Pakistan after the Taliban takeover.
The fee is imposed targeting the refugees that are set to leave for western countries under resettlement schemes. As per these resettlement schemes the western countries, primarily US and UK, have committed to settle the Afghan refugees who fled Taliban’s persecution in Afghanistan. While the US has assured of accommodating 25,000 refugees, UK has committed to a figure of 20,000. Accordingly, United Kingdom has opened its scheme for resettlement from January this year, with an announced intake of about 5,000 refugees per year.
Refugee crisis after the Taliban takeover
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, a huge Afghan refugee crisis has mounted. This happened because of the fear of bigoted government that works on a sole purpose of executive any voice of dissent or supporting democracy, precisely the ones who are either acquainted with the former government and its offices or somehow supported the western countries during long period of struggle against Taliban.
As a result, millions of civilians, both documented and undocumented, fled the country and settled in different parts of the world. Pakistan, for obvious reasons, saw most influx. Notably, the undocumented ones include both, without visas or expired visas. Now, Pakistan has started to repatriate the undocumented persons. It all started with a crackdown and a brutal torture of Afghan civilians before giving a final deadline for voluntary return to Afghanistan, which ended on 31st October. Since then, Pakistan has started to place undocumented Afghan refugees into detention centres for deportation.
Pakistan extorting $830 per person
Pakistan is reported to be extorting about $830 per head in exit permit fee from Afghan civilians waiting to leave for the western countries. After these reports, western countries along with the United Nations have slammed Pakistan for its actions.
Five senior western diplomats in Pakistan said that the exit permit fee in Pakistan was unprecedented internationally and had come as a shock. “I know it is very tough economically for Pakistan but really, to try to make money off refugees is really unattractive,” said one diplomat.
Another diplomat lambasted Pakistan saying, “It is very bizarre, and I personally find it very frustrating. If Pakistan wants to facilitate the process of the settlement of refugees in the West then they should not make it more complicated with such absurd conditions.” “What is the justification for this exit permit fee? To make a lot of money?”
Longstanding mockery of humanity by Pakistan
For the international community, it has come as a shock and unanticipated act of extorting money from the refugees. However, those aware of Pakistan’s real face find no reason to get shocked! Time and again, Pakistan has mocked humanity. Regions like Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, POJK and POGB are filled with such living instances. It is well known that Pakistan is going through its worst economic crisis and so it does not want to leave any opportunity to squeeze the money. It knows that the Afghan civilians leaving for western countries are going to get some humane refuge and would easily pay any amount to get rid of their authoritative regime and so It is squeezing the last penny it could.
The worst part is that Pakistan is doing this even though it is the foremost reason, this crisis had unfolded and reached this point. On one side it portrayed itself as the victim of terrorism to appropriate funds from the US and on the other hand it helped Taliban in its destabilising efforts. It was done mainly for two reasons, first to maintain the inflow of funds intact and second to use Afghanistan as its strategic backyard for launching terrorist attacks in India using the same US funds.
Now that the US led western forces have retrieved from Afghanistan, Pakistan is trying to extort anything possible.