• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Pakistan to deport illegal Afghan immigrants after completion of sentence


Afghan refugee women sit with their babies as they wait with others to be repatriated to Afghanistan, at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office on the outskirts of Peshawar, February 2, 2015. — Reuters
Afghan refugee women sit with their babies as they wait with others to be repatriated to Afghanistan, at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office on the outskirts of Peshawar, February 2, 2015. — Reuters 
  • Govt decides deportation as Afghan nationals complete jail term.
  • Around 800 Afghan prisoners still behind bars in jails across Sindh.
  • 317 Afghan prisoners freed from jails in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Local authorities have decided to deport illegally-settled Afghan nationals from the country following the end of their sentences, according to documents of the Sindh Home Department seen by Geo News on Saturday.

Around 530 Afghans have been released after they completed their sentences in different jails across Sindh. All the released Afghan prisoners, according to documents, have completed their two-month-long sentences awarded by different courts.

Around 800 illegal Afghan immigrants are still behind bars in various Sindh jails. 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.

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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