ISLAMABAD - Pakistan would be setting up special 'holding centres' to house foreign nationals lacking identity documents before deportation, confirmed caretaker Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti.
Instead of detaining the refugees in prisons, the authorities will establish detention centres across provinces, including Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Islamabad.
The minister also assured that these centres would treat undocumented immigrants, particularly vulnerable groups, with respect, offering meals and medical facilities.
The comments came as the government ruled out the possibility of an extension in the deadline to expel illegal immigrants; the deadline is November 1st.
As per the details available, provincial governments would bear the costs for such centres and as far as immigrants are concerned, they would only be allowed to carry their local currency amounting to Rs50,000 per family.
The interior minister confirmed that in the case of Afghan families, they can carry 50,000 Afghan Afghanis.
“We will expel all illegal immigrants in phases, and in the first phase, those having no valid documents will be repatriated,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn News.
The caretaker minister emphasized that individuals who unlawfully obtained Pakistani national identity cards or passports through the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) would face expulsion once their identity documents were revoked.
Sarfraz Bugti highlighted that Nadra is actively engaged in identifying and probing such instances, and strict measures will be taken against any Nadra officials implicated in these cases of "identity theft."
The minister also warned of action against properties owned by illegal immigrants and their local facilitators, emphasizing that any Pakistanis aiding such immigrants would face legal consequences.
Urged undocumented immigrants to leave voluntarily to avoid potential action, the minister confirmed that the government has identified areas with high concentrations of illegal immigrants and is prepared to implement the plan post-November 1.
Addressing the situation of Afghan nationals residing in Pakistan on transit visas, the minister affirmed the government's commitment to provide assistance.
He mentioned ongoing communication with various embassies, including those of the UK, Canada, and others, underlining the government's intention to ensure their well-being.
In response to a query, he emphasized that explicit directives have been issued to law enforcement agencies to refrain from any form of mistreatment towards undocumented foreign nationals. He emphasized that all individuals, regardless of age or gender, will be treated with dignity and respect.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 22, 2024 (Thursday)
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.
Euro comes down to 300.2 for buying and 303.2 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.6 for buying, and 354.1 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.2 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.45.
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