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Legal Challenges Mount to Pakistan’s Repatriation of Undocumented Foreigners

Pakistan is facing mounting legal challenges Thursday for its decision to repatriate undocumented foreigners — most being Afghans.

A group of academicians went to the Supreme Court to challenge the government’s ongoing campaign against “illegal” immigrants.

Six academicians from the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences filed a petition in the apex court seeking to stop the government from deporting Afghan refugees “en masse.”

“This petition is necessitated due to the serious human rights abuses and blatant violation of the constitution and international law being committed by the federal government, the provincial government and other government authorities in the name of Pakistan,” the petition stated.

It added that Pakistan has been hosting 5 million Afghan refugees for the past 40 years and the current situation in war-torn Afghanistan is a “real threat and danger” for refugees to return.

The petitioners pleaded that a commission should also be formed to oversee and ensure the process is carried out “fairly and justly.”

A three-judge bench of the top court will hear the petition Friday, along with a similar plea filed by the senators from the center-left Pakistan Peoples Party and mainstream religiopolitical party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

Pakistan gave a one-month deadline in October for all undocumented foreigners to leave by Nov. 1 or face forcible expulsion.

Afghanistan, the UN, Amnesty International and other organizations have opposed Islamabad’s decision to evict the undocumented refugees and said the return must be voluntary and without any pressure.

Amnesty International urged Pakistan to halt the “continued detentions, deportations and widespread harassment” of Afghan refugees.

More than 400,000 undocumented Afghan refugees have so far left Pakistan in the last month, according to the Afghan interim government.

The latest UN figures indicate that 1.3 million Afghans enjoy the status of registered refugees, while 880,000 have legal status to stay in Pakistan.​​​​​​​

Source : aa