'Pakistan will be missed': refugees returning to Afghanistan

'Pakistan will be missed': refugees returning to Afghanistan

The goods of Afghan families returning home from different parts of Pakistan reach Torkham where they are loaded in special trucks and transported across the border.

Pakistan 's deadline for illegal aliens to leave the country is hours away, prompting unusually heavy traffic at the heavily used Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan . i'm coming

Afghan refugee families living in different parts of the country first come to Torkham loaded with household goods, where their belongings are loaded into special border trucks to be taken across the border.  

Several Afghan families have complained about the exorbitant increase in vehicle fares just a few meters across the border from Torkham Bazaar.

A senior official of the Interior Department told Independent Urdu that so far 82 thousand illegal Afghan refugees have returned through Torkham. 

In this crowd of trucks and people at the Torkham border, families were also found, many of whose young and mature members were born in Pakistan and consider this country as their homeland. Many such Afghan refugees were reluctant to leave Pakistan.

Najeebullah, an Afghan refugee working as a laborer in Rawalpindi, is one of them, born and raised in Pakistan.

In a conversation with Independent Urdu, Najeebullah said: 'Pakistan will be missed a lot but it is forced. Some family members have the card, some don't.'

When Najibullah was asked about work or business in Afghanistan, he had to say: 'In Pakistan, we used to feed our children by working hard, but we are going to Afghanistan, but we have nothing there.'

How are the refugees doing?
Pakistan has given illegal Afghans a deadline of October 31, which will expire at 12 midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday.

After that, the illegally staying Afghan nationals will be detained and kept in special centers established for this purpose and will later be produced before magistrates' courts.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, such centers have been established in Tehsil Landi Kotal of Khyber District, Haripur in Hazara Region and Nasir Bagh in Peshawar District.

The family of Afghan refugee Gul Khan was living in Chichawatani area of ​​Punjab and was in the hospital for the treatment of the child a few days ago when they got to know about going back to Afghanistan. 

Among those who returned to Afghanistan is Mohammad Zaman, whose remaining family is in Afghanistan, but he himself was living in Peshawar along with his mother and two daughters.

He said that his son used to study in Peshawar but now he is leaving school and going back to Afghanistan.

Muhammad Zaman said pessimistically: 'It will be seen whether there is any provision for education or not. But going back now.'

Return of refugees through Chaman border

Illegal migrants are also going to Afghanistan from Chaman border bordering Balochistan.

According to Azizur Rehman Sabaon, a reporter in Chaman, a large number of refugees who voluntarily went to Afghanistan are going to Sapan Boldak, a city in Kandahar province, via Chaman Bab Dosti.

Most of the Afghan refugees who know the ways of Bab Dosti belong to Karachi and different cities of Punjab.

Although temporary camps have been set up by the government in Quetta, Pashin, Qil Abdullah and Chaman for the returnees, no one is being accommodated in these camps yet.

According to Balochistan Information Minister John Achakzai, Afghan refugees arrested after November 1 will be kept in these temporary camps and refugees from different provinces will be deported on different days of the week.

According to John Achakzai, the migrants arrested from different areas of Sindh on Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be deported and the illegal Afghan migrants arrested in Balochistan on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and in different parts of Punjab on Saturday. Arrested Afghan refugees will be deported after being placed in temporary camps.

UN, Western countries request Pakistan to identify and protect Afghans

A spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency in Pakistan says that 'Afghan refugees cannot return to Afghanistan because their freedom or their lives may be in danger.'
Western embassies and the United Nations urged Pakistan on Tuesday to include in its plan to deport millions of illegal immigrants a way to identify and protect Afghan migrants who are being persecuted in their country. There is a risk of becoming a victim.

According to the British news agency Reuters, Pakistan has set a date of November 1 for the start of the deportation of immigrants.

More than 1.7 million Afghans living in the South Asian country may be vulnerable. There are 4 million foreign immigrants and refugees living in Pakistan.

Qaisar Khan Afridi, spokesman for the UN refugee agency in Pakistan, told Reuters: 'We are asking the government (of Pakistan) to bring in a comprehensive system and the immediate threat of reprisals if they are forced to return. The procedure for the management and registration of these persons should be formulated.

"Since they can't come back, they can't go back to Afghanistan because their freedom or their life might be in danger," he said.

On the other hand, the US Ambassador to Pakistan also met the caretaker foreign minister of Pakistan in this regard.

In a statement issued by the US Embassy, ​​US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Bloom met with Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Tuesday to discuss safe and speedy action for the transfer and rehabilitation of eligible Afghan nationals to the US.

The Chairperson of the National Commission for the Dignity of Women, Nilufar Bakhtiar, also in a letter on Tuesday requested the Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti to review the cases of unregistered Afghan women, who may face difficulties on their return to Afghanistan.

The letter said that according to their sources, there are around 30,000 women who may face difficulties on returning to Afghanistan and these women had taken refuge in Pakistan for their safety.

The one-month deadline given by the government of Pakistan for the repatriation of illegally staying foreigners in the country ends on November 1, after which the return to the Chaman and Torkham borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan will begin on Tuesday. A rush of Afghan citizens was seen.

All foreign nationals residing illegally in Pakistan have been ordered to leave the country by November 1 and their properties will be confiscated from November 2. The government says that this decision has been taken in the backdrop of rising terrorism in Pakistan and no indication has been given to extend the deadline.

According to Independent Urdu newspaper Izharullah at the Torkham border, there is a rush of people returning to Afghanistan at the border. Similarly, Uzair-ur-Rahman Sabaon, a correspondent at the Chaman border, also said that there is a rush of people going back to Afghanistan on this border too, and in front of them, 30 to 40 families crossed the border in trucks.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar said while talking to the media in Lahore on Tuesday that no country in the world allows illegal people to stay. These people go back and come back legally. 

The Caretaker Prime Minister further said that a citizen of any country can come to Pakistan with a visa. Illegal residents were given time to return to their countries. Registered Afghan refugees are not being sent back.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson of the Pakistani Foreign Office, has also categorically stated that the plan to return the foreigners living illegally in the country to their countries is without discrimination for the illegal residents of all countries.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Office further said that the return of illegal residents to their respective countries is in accordance with Pakistan's sovereign internal laws and international norms.

He said that the project will not be applicable to legally residing and registered foreigners in Pakistan.

On the other hand, the Taliban government in Kabul says that Pakistan's policy is tantamount to 'harassment'.

Afghan refugees
Afghan refugees during the arrival of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the Izakhel Volunteer Center in Nowshera on October 30, 2023 (Abdul Majeed/AFP)

Irshad Mohmand, a senior government official stationed at the Torkham border, told AFP that thousands of Afghan refugees were waiting their turn in cars and trucks and the number was increasing.

He said that more than 10,000 refugees have gathered since Tuesday morning.

Zulfiqar Khan, who was born to refugee parents in a sprawling camp in Peshawar, told AFP last week: "I have decided to leave the country to avoid any humiliation from the Pakistani authorities."

Islamabad Police has also warned illegal persons through mosques.

More than 80 percent have migrated through the northern Torkham border into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the majority of Afghan refugees live.

Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti also said during a press conference on October 26 that no compromise will be made in the matter of the evacuation of foreigners residing illegally in the country after November 1. He also encouraged voluntary returnees.

Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said that all our preparations have been completed and the government has made such centers, which have been named as holding centers. In these centers, illegally staying foreign nationals will be housed before evacuation, they will be provided with medical facilities, food and drink and children, women and elderly will be treated with dignity and respect.

Arafat Mahajir of Afghan Information and Culture on the Torkham border of Pakistan and Afghanistan told BBC Pashto that 100,000 Afghans have left Pakistan in 40 days since September 17.

Although the Pakistani government said that action against these illegals would begin on November 2, Afghan officials say that "90 to 95 percent of the returning refugees were forcibly sent back to Afghanistan."

Preparing the Afghan Taliban

On the other hand, the Taliban government says that the committee established for the distribution of land for the returning Afghan refugees and their permanent settlement has formed its own procedure.

The committee prepared this manual in a meeting for the distribution of land for the returnees and their permanent settlement under the chairmanship of the Minister of Housing and Urban Development Sheikh Hamdullah Nomani.

According to the instructions of the Taliban chief, this committee has been established to solve the problems of the refugees.

 In the committee meeting, land allocation for housing schemes, land settlement, planning, construction of permanent settlements, resettlement of refugees and distribution of housing were all topics that were comprehensively discussed during the preparation of the manual. .

'Significant Risk'

Lawyers and activists say that the severity of government announcements to repatriate illegally staying foreigners is unprecedented. He has appealed to be given more time.

The Pakistani government is using threats, abuse and detention to force Afghan refugees without legal status to return to Afghanistan or face deportation, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The organization added that the situation in Afghanistan is dangerous for many people and deportation would pose serious security threats to their lives and well-being.

According to an estimate, millions of Afghans have migrated to Pakistan since the Taliban government assumed power in August 2021.

An important meeting of RPOs, DPOs was held at the Central Police Office under the chairmanship of IG Punjab Dr. Usman Anwar on Tuesday, in which it was decided to phase-out the evacuation of illegal immigrants across the province from November 3. It will start.

In the meeting, the plan for the evacuation of illegally staying foreign nationals has been finalized.

Inspector General Police Punjab Dr. Usman Anwar said that he is in full contact with the institutions and will follow the government's decision to evacuate the illegal residents.

According to the announcement of the Punjab Police, illegal resident foreigners will be transferred outside the boundaries of Punjab from specific points. Before this, they will be kept at holding points during the transfer process, while the transport, logistics, food and other arrangements for the transfer will be the responsibility of the concerned district administration.

The police officials also decided to keep security high alert during the evacuation of foreign nationals from Punjab.

'Poisonous air' is suffocating Delhi, haze blankets the sky, AQI crosses 400 in many areas

Delhi Air Pollution: Even before Diwali, Delhi is slowly moving towards gas chamber. The smoke from stubble burning and vehicles and factories is mingling in the air. In such a situation, due to reduced wind speed, pollution particles are getting stuck in the air, due to which air pollution is increasing.

For the first time in October, the air in Delhi was very bad compared to NCR on Monday.
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Delhi's AQI ranks sixth among 221 cities across the country.
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New Delhi:Air pollution has increased concern in Delhi-NCR. The Air Quality Index (AQI) has been completely damaged. Due to reduced wind speed, the air quality index has reached very poor category. AQI is beyond 400 in many areas in Delhi. Delhi's AQI ranked sixth among 221 cities across the country. For the first time in October, the air in Delhi was very bad compared to NCR on Monday. On Tuesday, Delhi's air overall was recorded in the very poor category. After Delhi, the air of Greater Noida was the most polluted. More or less, the same situation is expected to persist for the entire week. 
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Even before Diwali, Delhi is slowly moving towards the gas chamber. The smoke from stubble burning and vehicles and factories is mingling in the air. In such a situation, due to reduced wind speed, pollution particles are getting stuck in the air, due to which air pollution is increasing. 

Supreme Court asked for affidavit
Expressing concern over the suffocating air, the Supreme Court has also asked Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to give affidavit. The Supreme Court has ordered that the northern states should give an affidavit as to what steps have been taken to reduce pollution. 

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Air Quality Index of Delhi areas:
According to the data of SAFAR-India, AQI is beyond 300 in different areas of Delhi. AQI was recorded at 430 in Mundka, 412 in Rohini, 395 in Wazirpur, 385 in Bawana, 381 in Anand Vihar, 375 in Sonia Vihar, 395 in Vivek Vihar, 375 in Sadipur, 385 in Punjabi Bagh and 323 in IGI Airport.

AQI at Airport T3 was 342 in very poor category, Lodhi Road AQI 311 in very poor category, AQI 314 in IIT Delhi area was in very poor category, AQI at Mathura Road was 334, which was recorded in very poor category.
The air quality index of Delhi-NCR
was recorded at 242. AQI of Faridabad was recorded at 242. Ghaziabad's AQI was recorded at 226. The pollution level in Noida is in very bad category. The AQI here was recorded at 324. In Gurugram also, AQI 314 was recorded on Tuesday, which falls in the very poor category. 

Stubble burning incidents increased by 740% in one day in Punjab, NASA showed places in satellite images

AQI of most of the cities of Punjab-Haryana is crossing 300. The
Air Quality Index (AQI) of most of the cities of Punjab-Haryana is crossing 300. Punjab saw a 760% increase in stubble burning cases in a single day on October 29 (Sunday). So far, 5,454 incidents of stubble burning have been reported in the state. On Sunday, 1,068 farms were set on fire, whereas last Saturday this figure was reduced to 127 incidents. After Punjab, incidents of stubble burning are also taking place in Haryana, but compared to Punjab, fewer fields are being set on fire here.

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Delhi ranked sixth among 221 cities.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), on Monday, Delhi's air was ranked sixth most polluted among 221 cities across the country. In this, AQI 428 was recorded in Hanumangarh, which was in severe category. 416 AQI was recorded in Jind, 381 in Bathinda, 368 in Sri Ganganagar and 362 in Bahadurgarh.

How is air quality measured?
AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 to 100 'satisfactory', 101 to 200 'moderate', 201 to 300 'poor', 301 to 400 'very poor'. And E between 401 and 500 is considered in the 'severe' category.

SC's big intervention on increasing pollution in Delhi-NCR, asked 5 states - tell what steps should be taken?
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