• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Govt decides deportation of Afghan nationals after completion of jail term

Afghan people enter Pakistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman after the Talibans military takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. — AFP
Afghan people enter Pakistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. — AFP

Authorities have decided to deport illegally-settled Afghan nationals from Pakistan now that their sentences have ended, documents of the Sindh Home Department showed.  

Around 530 Afghans, according to the documents seen by Geo News on Saturday, have been released upon completing their sentences in different jails across Sindh. These released Afghans had been awarded two-month-long sentences by different courts in the province for not having complete travel documents while entering the province.

Approximately 800 illegal Afghan immigrants are still behind bars in various jails across Sindh. Police officers have been ordered to hold the prisoners in custody and take them to the Chaman border.

The provincial home department has directed to also inform the Afghan Consulate in Karachi about the deportation of its nationals, the documents showed.

According to the documents, around 169 men were released from the Hyderabad jail; 148 nationals were freed from the Karachi jail. Therefore, a total of 317 Afghan prisoners were let out from both jails combined.

Forty-one children were released from Karachi and Hyderabad prisons’ juvenile jails. From Karachi and Hyderabad women jails, 56 and 32 Afghan female prisoners were let go, respectively. At least 84 children were freed with their mothers who were imprisoned as illegal immigrants.

Picture of Afghan children behind bars

A few days ago, a picture circulated on social media showed several children peering out from behind the bars in a jail. Multiple online users said the image is of a lock-up in Karachi, where Afghan refugee children are being held with their mothers.

However, after the picture went viral online and garnered the attention of international human rights organisations as well as the media, Sindh’s Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon denied in a press conference, held on December 30, that the picture was from a prison in Karachi.

“The picture is not of any jail in Sindh,” he said. The minister added that he had checked with local jail authorities and officials before making the statement.

However, contrary to the minister’s claim, the picture was from a city court lock-up in Karachi and was made by Samar Abbas — a legal associate and a human rights defender in Karachi — on December 28 at 11am.

“I took this picture myself, from my phone,” he told Geo Fact Check, over the phone, “The [Afghan refugee] children were being kept in a lock-up in Karachi” before the hearing of a court case.

Abbas added that the Afghan refugee children he met that day were under nine years old.

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