PESHAWAR: A total of 7,380 Afghan nationals were registered at the Landikotal holding camp on the first day of the deportation campaign for illegal immigrants, following the expiration of a one-month ultimatum for voluntary repatriation.
These undocumented immigrants were subsequently deported to Afghanistan via the Torkham border, connecting Pakistan with its landlocked neighbor. The nationwide initiative began after the October 31 deadline, with the registration and deportation process in full swing.
The deportation included 64 individuals released from Adyala jail in Rawalpindi and 51 undocumented foreigners released from Central Jail Peshawar, all of whom were transported to their home country through Torkham. The influx of immigrants, particularly Afghans, prompted the establishment of three holding camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for verification and documentation before deportation.
The spokesperson for the KP Home Department, Lateefur Rehman, mentioned that the registration and deportation process would continue under the arrangements made by the KP Government. The campaign involved the deportation of illegal foreigners through various authorized border points, including Angoor Ada in South Waziristan, Kharlachi in Kurram, and Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan.
The Interior Ministry estimates that more than four million Afghans have been residing in Pakistan for the past four decades, with approximately 1.7 million of them unregistered. Lateef highlighted that the registration target of shifting 7,500 illegal immigrants to the Landikotal camp for the first day was almost met, with 7,380 individuals registered by 9:30 p.m. The process included providing free food, water, and shelter to the undocumented foreigners before their deportation.
The spokesperson outlined the schedule for repatriation, with Wednesday and Thursday allocated for those detained in Islamabad, Gilgit Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir, Friday and Saturday for Punjab, and Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday for KP. Free transport services to Torkham were also offered to the illegal immigrants.
To facilitate the verification process, NADRA officials at Landikotal utilized 15 vans, with additional vans being arranged due to the expected influx in the coming days. The Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) was employed, with the FIA staff ensuring smooth repatriation at Torkham and other crossing points.
The interior ministry’s clear instructions to all provinces emphasized the deportation of illegal foreigners under the Foreigners Act, reinforcing that entry into Pakistan without valid legal documents, including visa and passport, would not be permitted from November 1 onward. The identification process for over 52,000 illegal immigrants in different districts of KP had already been completed, with a modern control room at the Home Department monitoring the entire process and addressing concerns from relevant stakeholders.