In a significant development, Saudi Arabian authorities have successfully retrieved over 12,000 Pakistani passports from Afghan nationals, raising questions about the performance of national institutions. This discovery, as reported by Express News, has prompted the Pakistani government to take swift action.
The Passport Retrieval
Saudi authorities have officially informed Islamabad about this alarming situation. It has come to light that Afghan citizens acquired these Pakistani passports through various passport centers operating within Pakistan. This revelation has sparked concerns about security and illegal documentation.
Formation of High-Level Committee
In response to this pressing issue, Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior has taken action by creating a high-level committee. This committee comprises representatives from the Interior Ministry, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and other sensitive government agencies.
Mandate of the Committee
The committee’s primary mission is twofold:
- Identify the individuals responsible for the issuance of fake passports.
- Compile a comprehensive list of those involved in this fraudulent activity.
Legal proceedings will be initiated against these individuals in compliance with Pakistan’s laws.
Government Ultimatum and Human Rights Concerns
The Pakistani government recently issued an ultimatum, instructing all illegal foreign residents in Pakistan to depart the country by the end of October. However, this move has drawn criticism from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), which has raised concerns about Afghan profiling and national security.
Protection for Legally Residing Afghan Nationals
The Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) has provided assurance that Afghan nationals who are legally staying in Pakistan will not face harassment or arrest. This measure seeks to protect the rights of individuals who have followed the legal procedures for residency.
Evacuation of Illegal Afghan Residents
The process of evacuating Afghan citizens living illegally in Pakistan has already begun. Sixteen trucks have transported 20 families to the Torkham border. Once legal requirements are fulfilled, these 20 families, consisting of 350 people, will be allowed to enter Afghanistan, where they have legal status.
Historical Hosting of Afghan Refugees
It’s important to recognize that Islamabad has a long history of hosting Afghan refugees. At one point, up to five million Afghan refugees were residing in Pakistan. However, official records now indicate a significantly lower number of individuals possessing valid refugee cards.
This situation highlights the complexities surrounding migration, documentation, and national security. The actions taken by the Pakistani government and the collaboration between various ministries and agencies demonstrate their commitment to addressing these issues in a comprehensive and lawful manner. The situation will undoubtedly continue to evolve as legal proceedings progress and as the government implements its ultimatum for illegal foreign residents.