ISLAMABAD: Following the set deadline for undocumented Afghan migrants residing in Pakistan, Afghan nationals have initiated their departure from the country through the Torkham border crossing, officials confirmed on Thursday.
Border authorities disclosed that in the last 48 hours, more than 30 families, totaling around 1,000 individuals, have left Pakistan on the very first day after the announcement by the federal interior minister. Officials have allocated a designated parking area for returning Afghan nationals in Torkham, with personnel assigned to assist them and complete their registration.
Officials further noted that Afghan families living in various Pakistani cities without proper legal documentation have started returning to Afghanistan to evade potential arrests and humiliation.
Baryalay Hasrat, a resident of Laghman province in Afghanistan, shared with The News that his family of nine members had resided in Nowshera for the past two decades. He mentioned that even though they possessed Afghan Citizen cards issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), they were opting to return to Afghanistan voluntarily due to the improved economic and security conditions there compared to Pakistan.
Hasrat urged his fellow Afghans to leave Pakistan, citing difficulties in covering utility bills and a lack of stable job opportunities and businesses.
The Afghan citizens also appealed for financial support for those returning to Afghanistan to help them rebuild their homes and start their livelihoods anew.
Previously, Pakistan had urged all undocumented immigrants to leave the country voluntarily by October 30th, with warnings of arrests and deportations following the expiration of the deadline.
On the flip side, a considerable number of Afghan citizens residing in various Pakistani cities called for flexibility in the conditions, emphasizing that their children were receiving education in Pakistan.
They expressed concerns that an abrupt departure would disrupt their children’s education, particularly worrying about girls’ education in Afghanistan, as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan had banned it.