NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Thursday stepped up its efforts to deport all illegal immigrants from the country, including about 1.7 million Afghans.
The country is setting up deportation centers for undocumented migrants amid a major government crackdown to expel foreigners without registration or documents.

On Thursday, it gave a final warning to all illegal immigrants to leave voluntarily before November 1 deadline.

Anyone found staying in the country illegally from next Wednesday “will be arrested and sent to the deportation centers”, the Pakistan government has warned.
However, those leaving voluntarily will be helped to leave Pakistan, such as preparation of their documents, permission to exchange currency and transportation.
Pakistan’s interim interior minister Sarfraz Bugti told a news conference in Islamabad that Pakistan was determined to go ahead with a plan to remove all undocumented immigrants after November 1.
“All the illegal immigrants have been identified. The state has a complete data,” said Bugti. “I want to appeal one more time that all the illegal immigrants should leave voluntarily by the deadline.”
Evicting those living in Pakistan illegally was a challenge for the state, but “nothing is impossible to achieve it,” he added.
The decision to carry out such a large-scale deportation will primarily impact hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees who took shelter in Pakistan amid years of turmoil.
The decision by Pakistan was taken after Afghan nationals were found to be involved in crimes, smuggling and attacks against government and the army, including 14 out of 24 suicide bombings this year.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Pakistan Taliban, is an offshoot of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The group, designated as a terror outfit, has intensified attacks on Pakistani security forces ever since the Taliban came to power in Kabul.
Islamabad alleges that the militants use Afghan soil to train fighters and plan attacks inside Pakistan. Kabul has strongly denied these charges, saying Pakistani security is a domestic issue.
Moreover, there is also sense among Pakistanis that Afghans are “stealing their jobs”.
Amir Rana of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, a think-tank in Islamabad, told The Economist that ordinary Pakistanis curse Afghans for “stealing” jobs.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s crackdown on illegal immigrants has not gone down well with the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which called it “unacceptable behavior” by the caretaker government.
According to a report in The Economist, the Taliban are furious with Pakistan for the extra burden of having to deal with vast numbers of expelled people.
This means that the chances of Taliban agreeing to work with Pakistan to restrain the TTP have shrunk to nearly zero.
(With inputs from agencies)

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