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Pakistan prepares to Launch Second Phase of Afghan Repatriation

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Kabul: According to reports from Pakistani media, Pakistan is gearing up to initiate the second phase of its deportation initiative, with the aim of repatriating nearly one million “documented” Afghans to their home country.

District authorities and law enforcement agencies have been tasked with mapping out and gathering data on the whereabouts of these individuals nationwide, as per information provided by Dawn News.

Although no specific commencement date has been specified, the campaign to return hundreds of thousands of ACC holders is anticipated to commence in early to mid-summer, pending approval from the federal government.

“We’ve already commenced the mapping process,” stated Abid Majeed, additional chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as cited by Dawn. “It will gain momentum post-Ramadan, and our aim is to conclude the survey before April 30th.”

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), there are approximately 2.18 million documented Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan. This figure encompasses 1.3 million refugees in possession of Proof of Registration (PoR) cards from a 2006-07 census, along with an additional 880,000 refugees who were granted ACCs during a registration drive in 2017.

Following the Taliban’s resurgence to power in August 2021, another wave of Afghans sought refuge in Pakistan. Pakistani authorities estimate their numbers to range between 600,000 and 800,000, some possessing valid travel documents but confronting an uncertain future.

Since last October, Pakistan has deported over half a million undocumented Afghan migrants subsequent to announcing a crackdown on irregular immigrants. Aid organizations highlight that the repatriated migrants are encountering challenges such as inadequate shelter, food scarcity, and limited job prospects in Afghanistan.

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