In the wake of recent terror attacks in different parts of the country that left over 60 dead, the caretaker federal government on Tuesday decided to abolish a British-era regime that allowed members of certain tribes to travel to and from Pakistan using only a valid identity document and a special permit while launching a crackdown on foreigners living illegally or having arrived illegally in Pakistan. Illegal foreigners have been given a month to leave the country.
This was decided on Tuesday during a meeting of the Apex Committee of the National Action Plan in Islamabad. The meeting was chaired by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar. It was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, relevant federal caretaker ministers, provincial caretaker chief ministers, and heads of all civil and military law enforcing agencies and services.
During the meeting, the participants were given a detailed briefing on the current security situation of the country and their possible solutions.
Participants of the meeting resolved that despite all the difficulties, they will ensure adherence to the law and the Constitution in line with the expectations of the public.
The apex committee adopted comprehensive measures against illegal migrants living in the country.
It was decided that movement across Pakistan's borders would only be open to those who could present formal travel documents such as valid visas and passports. After the demarcation of the Durand line cut off people from their lands and families, members of certain tribes in the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas to cross over without the need for passports and visas. Instead, travel was allowed against the presentation of a special permit.
Moreover, within the country, a crackdown will be launched on illegal foreigners, their illegal businesses and their properties.
For this purpose, a task force will be set up under the Federal Interior Ministry to review and probe the prevalence of fake identity cards, businesses and properties.
The forum also took notice of the increase in illegal activities, including smuggling items such as narcotics, food, and currency.
Moreover, it will also look into other illegal activities, such as goods hoarding and power theft. Efforts against these crimes, it was decided, will be further enhanced.
The forum reiterated that only the state has a monopoly over violence and that no individual or group can be allowed to deliberately use power.
There is absolutely no space for any armed political group or organisation, and those involved in such activities will be dealt with sternly, the forum resolved.
It was stressed that Islam is a religion of peace, but the state cannot allow individual interpretations of the religion to be used for political purposes.
The rights of minorities and religious freedom are guaranteed in Islam and the Constitution. Thus, the state will ensure these freedoms.
The forum stressed that propaganda and a movement to spread false news should be prosecuted under the relevant cyber crimes. The forum participants were briefed on how technical means were being adopted to implement the law and spread awareness about it.
Eviction of illegal foreigners
Earlier in the day, the caretaker government decided to evict some 1.1 million foreigners living illegally in Pakistan because of their alleged involvement in funding and facilitating terrorists and other illegal activities. These illegal foreigners have a month to leave the country without facing any legal consequences.
All illegal immigrants have 28 days to leave Pakistan.— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) October 3, 2023
In the first phase, illegal foreigners; in the second phase, those with Afghan citizenship; and in the third phase, those with proof of residence cards will be expelled.
According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the plan to evict Afghan citizens residing illegally in Pakistan has been approved, with these people allegedly involved in funding, facilitating and smuggling terrorists.
Moreover, there are some 700,000 Afghans who have yet to renew their Proof of Residence (POR) cards in Pakistan.
The federal interior ministry has prepared a plan to repatriate Afghans to Afghanistan in consultation with the stakeholders and the Afghan government.
In the meantime, the ministry has also issued directives to the relevant officials and departments to compile a record of Afghans living without a permit and prepare a transportation plan to bring them to the Afghan border.
Apart from checking the records of all the Afghans residing in the country, the concerned officials were directed to quickly deal with the applications filed regarding the registration of Afghans.