Pakistan’s shameful actions: Unlawful crackdown on Afghan civilians

Afghans living in Pakistan are facing violence from their host in recent years.
Afghans living in Pakistan (Photo - News Intervention)

In a shocking and deeply concerning turn of events, the Paki ‘establishment’ has once again displayed a blatant disregard for human rights and decency. The recent arrest of more than 250 Afghan refugees and migrants in the southern province of Sindh is a stark example of this cruelty.

This ruthless crackdown, which began in Karachi on September 11, is ostensibly part of an effort to repatriate undocumented Afghans. However, it has quickly become evident that the true aim of these arrests is to harass and persecute impoverished Afghan civilians, many of whom are unable to return to Taliban-occupied Afghanistan due to legitimate security concerns and dire economic circumstances.

Governor of Sindh, Kamran Tissori, brazenly confirmed the establishment’s directive to target and apprehend Afghans living in Pakistan without proper documentation. This is nothing short of racial profiling and discrimination against a vulnerable community.

Lawyer Muniza Kakar, who has valiantly represented Afghan refugees arrested in Karachi, rightly points out the racial profiling at play here. Many of those detained possess Paki ‘establishment-issued’ identification cards confirming their Afghan origin. The mass arrests of Afghan refugees are not only unjust but also deeply distressing, and immediate action is needed to protect the rights of these refugees.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan have long endured harassment, inadequate support, and a lack of information regarding the documentation required to extend their stay in the country. The situation has only worsened with the recent crackdown. Many refugees, like Ahmad, who shared his story, have faced bureaucratic hurdles and mental anguish as they desperately seek legal means to remain in Pakistan.

The Paki establishment’s decision to let Proof of Registration cards expire on June 30 has created a dire situation for Afghan refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on Islamabad to extend the deadline, but so far, these pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

This hostile environment has left Afghan refugees living in constant fear. Aimal Habibi, an Afghan refugee in Sindh, expressed his deep anxiety about being arrested even when he ventures out to buy groceries. The Pakistan Army’s actions have created a hostile and distressing atmosphere for these vulnerable individuals.

Pakistan was considered a better place when Taliban occupied Afghanistan, approximately 1.4 million documented Afghan refugees, with an equal number of undocumented Afghans were residing within its borders. However, now the situation has become unbearable.

This crackdown on Afghan refugees occurs against the backdrop of recent violence in Chitral. The loss of four Pak Army personnel and the killing of over 16 others as a result of TTP terrorists’ attempts to cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan is the main reason. Earlier as well, TTP attack killed 11 labourers in Pakistan. Pakistan has witnessed a resurgence of radical Islamist militant attacks since the breakdown of a ceasefire between the Paki establishment and the TTP last year.

However, using these incident as a pretext to unjustly target Afghan civilians is not the solution. But, Pakistan Army has always been popular for its inhumane actions.

In the backdrop of this incident, the Caretaker PM of Pakistan stated that since the abrupt withdrawal of the USA, a massive stockpile of weapons and ammunition has been taken up by the Taliban. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Pakistan is now critiquing and targeting the Taliban for using this automated machinery to inflict damage on the Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army is now doing what it does best, in an attempt to cover up their failing structure, the Paki establishment is now issuing a yet another brutal crackdown on the innocent Afghan refugees.

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