Deporting Afghans most likely to damage Pakistan`s economy

(MENAFN) In a significant development, the ongoing process of deporting Afghan refugees from Pakistan has raised concerns among trade leaders who predict severe economic repercussions for the country. Muhammad Noor Ahmedzai, a prominent Afghan businessman and president of the Afghan Transport Owners' Association, finds himself on the brink of deportation after almost five decades of residing in the Peshawar district of Pakistan. Ahmedzai, who holds a Proof of Registration card issued by the UNHCR for Afghan refugees, emphasizes the detrimental impact the mass deportation will have on Pakistan's economy.

Facing the imminent threat of expulsion, Ahmedzai contemplates strategies to sustain his business, considering relocation options to either the Chabahar port in Iran or the Sher Khan border in Afghanistan. His concerns echo the sentiments of many others in a similar predicament, with potential consequences reaching far beyond individual livelihoods.

The heart of Ahmedzai's argument lies in the estimated 5,000 vehicles owned by Afghan businesspersons currently navigating Pakistani roads. These vehicles, extensively registered with the customs department in Pakistan, represent a significant investment, with individual units valued between three to ten million Pakistani rupees. The mass deportation directive not only jeopardizes the substantial financial investments made by these entrepreneurs but also disrupts the intricate web of cross-border trade that has flourished between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Ahmedzai emphasizes the impact on Pashtuns, a community residing on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, pointing out the interconnectedness of their lives and economic activities. The October 31 deadline for undocumented refugees and subsequent December 31 deadline for registered refugees intensify the urgency of the situation, leaving individuals and businesses grappling with the reality of an uncertain future.

The article sheds light on the complexities of the deportation decision, highlighting the potential harm it poses not only to the Afghan refugees but also to the broader economic landscape of Pakistan. As the deadline approaches, the fate of thousands of Afghan businesses and their significant contributions to the local economy hangs in the balance, prompting a reevaluation of the potential long-term consequences for both nations involved.


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