Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees for years despite having economic constraints. Millions of refugees have crossed into Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Those people are not everywhere in Pakistan, having indulged in various activities be it criminal or economic. We have seen various instances where these Afghan refugees are linked with various criminal as well as terrorist activities.

Pakistani law enforcement agencies have been fully cooperating with them to facilitate them.

Unfortunately, the Afghan government refused to acknowledge the burden that Pakistan has been facing since the 1980s due to these documented and undocumented refugees. Instead of supporting Pakistan to curb terrorism and extremism, Afghan authorities started maligning Pakistan over flimsy grounds.

In realism, there are no permanent foes in global politics. Pakistan has reserved every right to protect its national interests and citizens as well. In the recent past, Pakistan has witnessed a surge in terrorism-related activities, which are mainly linked with TTP and its affiliated offshoots that are getting logistic support from Afghanistan. Interestingly, Afghanistan is being governed by the Taliban as well.

Pakistan repeatedly asked Afghan Taliban rulers to act decisively against TTP, which is carrying out attacks against Pakistani forces and civilians by using Afghan soil. Despite repeated calls from the Pakistani government and military leadership, the Afghan government has so far failed to act against anti-Pakistan elements.

In October last year, Pakistan’s caretaker government decided to send illegal Afghan immigrants back to their home country. The government announced a one-month deadline for illegal immigrants to leave the country voluntarily. Some human rights groups and international organizations have criticized the decision of the Pakistani government.

It must be noted that Pakistan has been facing various economic and political challenges in the last few years. Likewise, the crime rate increased immensely across the country and illegal immigrants were found involved in most of the incidents.

Pakistan issued warnings to Afghan refugees and other illegal immigrants many times to avoid participating in criminal as well as anti-Pakistan activities. However, these refugees ignored the government’s warnings, which ultimately deteriorated the overall security and economic landscape of the country. In addition, Pakistan also suggested to the Afghan government to take back their refugees as the country is grappling with economic challenges. So far, the Afghan government refused to cooperate with the Pakistani government over the issue.

For instance, the influx of Afghan refugees into the Chakdara area of Swat in KPK province has not only led to social, political, economic, and environmental challenges but has also posed a severe threat to Pakistan’s internal security.

With the presence of refugees, the law and order situation in Chakdara and nearby areas has deteriorated significantly, leading to a sharp rise in crime rates. Studies indicate that the refugees are primarily responsible for the proliferation of the Kalashnikov culture, drug trafficking, and various other criminal activities in the area. Furthermore, they have been identified as the main instigators of anarchy and sectarian discord among the local population of Chakdara.

Likewise, amid economic challenges, Pakistan’s government is working tirelessly to improve its economic indicators. However, issues of terrorism and extremism are making the government’s efforts dim and difficult. As per international conventions, every country has the right to do every possible and legitimate method to keep its country and economy secure and stable. The expulsion of illegal immigrants from Pakistan must be seen through these prisms, not through the lenses of hostility or any bias.

Not only Pakistan, but other countries of the world such as the United States, India, and many other states also announced their drives to send back illegal immigrants from their countries.

Recently, the Indian government’s decision to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is likely to make millions of people homeless and without any citizens. Likewise, former US President Donald Trump announced the ban on some Muslim countries. He also built a border wall at the US-Mexico border to stop immigrants.

Pakistan’s actions are totally in line with the global policies on refugees. Pakistan hosted millions of refugees and provided them with the best business or economic opportunities. Afghan refugees were able to establish businesses across the country, which somehow reduced opportunities for Pakistani people.

With Pakistan providing all possible facilities to refugees, it is unfortunate that some organizations and countries are still accusing Pakistan of deporting illegal immigrants. While criticizing Pakistan over the issue, they shouldn’t forget what the country has been facing since the arrival of refugees. Instead of spreading venom against Pakistan, they should have the courage to come forward and acknowledge Islamabad’s efforts to provide the best care to these refugees.

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