Pakistan is committed to expelling illegal immigrants and strengthening the sanctity of its borders for an investment-friendly climate
KARACHI: Balochistan’s Information Guardian Jan Achakzai on Sunday said Pakistan is committed to addressing the issue of illegal immigrants and enhancing border security in a bid to address security issues and create a conducive atmosphere for foreign companies looking to enter the local market.
Pakistan has become increasingly concerned about the Afghan presence as it grapples with an ongoing economic crisis and a surge in militant attacks in the country.
A top minister said last week that Afghan citizens had been involved in 14 of the 24 suicide bombings since the beginning of the year, prompting the government to warn “illegal immigrants”, mainly Afghans, to leave the country by November 1 or face threats them forced expulsion. .
The Taliban government in Kabul called the decision “unacceptable,” while maintaining that Afghans were not to blame for Pakistan’s security problems.
“We need to make Pakistan an investment-friendly country,” Achakzai said at a press conference at a local hotel in Karachi. “A lot of GCC these days [Gulf Cooperation Council] investments are flowing into Pakistan. We need to get back to normal. No normal country can afford to lose its borders.”
“We must restore the sanctity of our borders,” he continued. “This means we must implement a passport regime and decide the citizenship status of people in the country.”
Achakzai maintained that the policy had nothing to do with Afghanistan’s geopolitics or Pakistan’s bilateral relations with it.
“We have decided to expel illegal immigrants once and for all,” he added.
The provincial minister admitted that people working for Pakistani state institutions are responsible for the current situation, in which several Afghan citizens managed to cross the border without appropriate travel documents.
“If there had been no agreement, these people would not have been able to get to Pakistan,” he said. “But the army chief has said it quite openly now that FC [Frontier Constabulary] or other law enforcement personnel found complacent in such actions would be court-martialed and sent to prison.”
Achakzai said the government had decided “at the highest level” to take stringent action against anyone who facilitates illegal immigration.
He said a decision had also been taken to restrict ‘hundi’, an informal money transfer mechanism that operates outside the banking system and is widely used for remittances and commercial transfers.
He described it as the biggest challenge to the economy, facilitating all wrongdoing related to Afghan transit trade.
The government recently imposed a 10 percent handling fee on several transit trade items, pointing out that many of them ended up in the country’s market instead of being used in Afghanistan.
In response to a question, Achakzai said Pakistan would also fingerprint all illegal immigrants while deporting them to prevent their return.
“This policy is not country-specific,” he continued. “We will not take any action that is contrary to international or local law. We will send illegal immigrants back to their countries in a dignified manner, respecting our international obligations.”
“If we receive any complaint against the police regarding ill-treatment [of people]We will investigate this matter,” he added. “But we have now decided that sending back illegal immigrants is our state policy and we will not tolerate any pressure on us for this reason.”
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