(MENAFN) Pakistan's government declared a comprehensive crackdown on Tuesday targeting migrants residing in the country without proper documentation. The initiative, set to commence next month, has raised concerns, particularly among the estimated 1.7 million Afghans living in Pakistan illegally.
The caretaker Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sarfraz Bugti, emphasized that the crackdown was not specifically directed at Afghan nationals but would encompass individuals of all nationalities residing unlawfully in the country. It's worth noting, however, that a significant majority of undocumented migrants in Pakistan are of Afghan origin.
This move by Pakistan comes at a time of strained relations between the country and its neighboring, Taliban-led Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has expressed its concerns over attacks within its borders, attributing them to militants with affiliations to the Taliban, who frequently cross the shared 2,611-kilometer (1,622-mile) border between the two nations. These militants are said to find refuge and support in Afghanistan, further complicating the bilateral relationship.
The crackdown on undocumented migrants is seen as a measure to address security concerns within Pakistan and ensure better control of its borders. However, the situation also highlights the challenges faced by Afghan migrants who have sought refuge in Pakistan, many of whom have been residing there for years due to the protracted conflict and instability in Afghanistan.
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