Pak Army Chief Says Action To Continue Against "Illegal Activities" To Control Economic Losses

Authorities have started demolishing makeshift Afghan refugee camps in major Pakistani cities, leaving Afghans with no choice but to gather their belongings and move towards the Torkham border to return to Afghanistan.
Pakistan GDP (Representative Image)
Pakistan GDP (Representative Image)

Pakistan Army chief General Syed Asim Munir said on Friday that action would continue against the “spectrum of illegal activities” to control the economic losses due to such acts.

General Munir visited Karachi to attend a meeting of the Provincial Apex Committee along with the caretaker chief minister of Sindh, Maqbool Baqar.

The army said in a statement that General Munir was briefed about various issues, including repatriation of illegal foreigners and foreign currency regularisation measures as well as the security of foreign nationals employed on various projects, particularly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said that the “law enforcing agencies and other government departments will continue the enforcement actions against a spectrum of illegal activities with full force to deny pilferage of resources and economic losses that the country suffers due to these activities”.

General Munir also underscored the need for synergy among all relevant departments for the gainful effects of the landmark initiatives.

The participants affirmed that state institutions, government departments and people are united for the progress and prosperity of the province.

The remarks by the army chief came as Pakistan intensified its effort against illegal immigrants, especially Afghan nationals, to evict them.

The government already asked illegal immigrants to leave by November 1 or face strict action in the form of arrest and deportation.

The News reported that police have started raiding various Afghan refugee camps and other areas housing Afghan nationals, taking into custody hundreds of families who did not have any legal documentation to prove their status of stay in Pakistan.

Authorities also started demolishing makeshift Afghan refugee camps in Islamabad and other major cities, leaving no other options for Afghans to gather their belongings and move towards the Torkham border to cross over into Afghanistan.

At least 16 trucks carrying a minimum of 20 families had reached the Torkham border on Thursday, while about 40 more families reached there on Friday.

“After completion of legal requirements, these families, which comprise about 1,000 people, will be allowed to enter Afghanistan," said an official.

“These residents are from an Afghan refugee camp near Margalla Town in Islamabad, which was demolished by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on the instructions of the federal government”, the official added.

Until now, at least 503 Afghan refugees have been sent to jail as they failed to provide any legal document as proof of their identity status in the country.

“At least 1,126 people were checked in various operations. Of them, 623 people were released on presentation of legal identification documents. However, 503 of them were sent to jail for not having the necessary documents,” said a police official in Islamabad.

“The 503 arrested people were presented before different courts under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. After October 31, a crackdown will begin against all illegal residents," he added.

The Afghan interim government has criticised the decision by calling it “unacceptable” and urged Pakistan to revisit it but apparently, there is no relaxation by Islamabad.

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