An Afghan refugee woman looks on along with her minor daughter at UNHCR Center in the Belili area of Quetta: Photo Manan Mandokhail

Syed Ali Shah:

QUETTA: In Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, the government has launched a major crackdown on illegal immigrants, resulting in the detention of more than 500 individuals following the November 1st deadline expiration.

Afghan nationals make up the majority of those detained, as confirmed by a senior police official speaking to Daily Quetta Voice on Wednesday night. He requested anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the media.

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Operation To Be Intensified: Jan Achakzai

The operation against illegal immigrants is set to intensify across the entire province, according to Caretaker Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai, who addressed the media at the Quetta Press Club. Commissioner Quetta Division, Hamza Shafqaat, was also present during the announcement.

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Over 35,000 Repatriated at Pak Afghan Border Chaman

The Information Minister shared that approximately 35,000 Afghan refugees have already left for their home country via the Pak-Afghan border in Chaman. The Minister predicted that the number of illegal immigrants departing Pakistan would rise in the coming days due to the ongoing crackdown.

In response to inquiries, the Commissioner of Quetta Division reported that six holding sites have been established in Quetta to temporarily detain illegal immigrants. The primary goal is to facilitate their repatriation, ensuring a timely process.

Crackdown Not Against Any Specific Ethnicity: Achakzai

However, Caretaker Minister Balochistan, Jan Achakzai, emphasized that the crackdown is comprehensive, targeting all illegal immigrants without bias towards any specific community. Mr. Achakzai revealed that the crimes branch and special police units possess significant information about local individuals aiding illegal immigrants. Consequently, action will be taken against these facilitators who provide illegal shelter.

The Minister also called upon political parties to refrain from politicizing the issue for their own gain.

1 comment

  1. The government is targeting ethnic Pashtuns in its law enforcement efforts. Police is exploiting this situation to engage in corrupt practices and commit thefts during raids on their homes. The holding areas established for these individuals resemble fenced-in detention centers, lacking proper sanitation and privacy for women. Additionally, they lack essential healthcare facilities for women, children, and the elderly. Many of those arrested are, in fact, Pakistani citizens by birth, in accordance with the Citizenship Act of 1951. Strikingly, these arrests have exclusively affected Pashtuns, with no reports of similar actions taken against other ethnic groups.

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.