Over 2,000 Afghan refugees ar­rested in Peshawar

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL - STAFF RE­PORTER

PESHAWAR—In a crack­down launched against il­le­gal set­tlers, Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) po­lice have ar­rested over 2,000 Afghan refugees in Peshawar.

The KP pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment had set June 30 as a dead­line for Afghan im­mi­grants to get them­selves reg­is­tered in Pakistan.

With the dead­line near­ing its end, KP po­lice be­gan a crack­down against set­tlers avoid­ing reg­is­tra­tion in the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal Peshawar.

Ac­cord­ing to the KP po­lice, search op­er­a­tions are un­der­way and over 2,000 il­le­gal Afghan refugees have been ar­rested so far.

“Around 950 il­le­gal Afghan im­mi­grants were ar­rested from Can­ton­ment area, 350 from Peshawar city and 700 Afgha­nis have been ar­rested from the city’s ru­ral ar­eas,” po­lice said, adding that the ar­rests have been made dur­ing op­er­a­tions car­ried out over the past month.

More­over, at least 400 Afghan set­tlers have been de­ported to Afghanistan, po­lice said.

KP gov­ern­ment spokesman Mush­taq Ghani said the prov­ince can­not bear the eco­nomic bur­den of Afghan refugees any­more.

“We can­not bear the load of more than three mil­lion Afgha­nis in the prov­ince,” he told Dawn on Tues­day.

Ghani said if fed­eral gov­ern­ment wished to ex­tend the stay of Afghan set­tlers then it needs to es­tab­lish refugee camps and shift the im­mi­grants from Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa to Pun­jab.

“Af­ter June 30, all Afghan refugees will be re­stricted to their camps and will not be al­lowed to move freely in the prov­ince,” he said.

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