(MENAFN- AzerNews) Pakistan's jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan added his
voice Thursday to criticism from human rights groups about the
expulsion of illegal Afghan refugees from the country, Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.
“1.5 million refugees are not much of a burden for a nation of
250 million people. There is a fear of a permanent rift in the
long-standing relationship between the two countries, considering
the way Afghan refugees are being expelled,” Khan, who is currently
languishing a jail in the northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi,
wrote on X.
Pakistan gave a one-month deadline in October for all
undocumented foreigners to leave by Nov. 1 or face forcible
Afghanistan, the UN, Amnesty International and other
organizations have opposed Islamabad's decision to evict the
undocumented refugees and said the return must be voluntary and
without any pressure.
Khan observed that Pakistan and Afghanistan are brotherly and
neighboring countries, whose people are bound in centuries-old
“Pakistan has hosted Afghan refugees for 40 years but the fruits
of this years-long hospitality are being wasted just because of a
poor strategy,“ wrote Khan.
He warned that the forced expulsion of the refugees may result
in a permanent rift in relations between the neighboring
Khan urged the government to revisit the policy and adopt a
“respectful” strategy to repatriate Afghan refugees.
Nearly 500,000 undocumented Afghan refugees have left Pakistan
in the last month, according to the Afghan interim government.
The latest UN figures indicate that 1.3 million Afghans enjoy
the status of registered refugees, while 880,000 have legal status
to stay in Pakistan.
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