Islamabad (Khyber Mail): A recent roundtable discussion organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) in Islamabad emphasized the need for the repatriation of illegal Afghan migrants residing in Pakistan back to their home country.

The participants, including Salman Javed (Director General of the Pak-Afghan Youth Forum), Sumaira Khan (senior journalist), Sibah Farooq (expert on international humanitarian and human rights law), Asma Mushtaq (Supreme Court advocate), and Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz (President IRS), voiced the opinion that Pakistan, as a sovereign nation, has the right to regulate the presence of undocumented Afghans on its soil. The ongoing repatriation efforts, they noted, are also influenced by the current strain in diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries.

While calling for the repatriation, the participants urged the Government of Pakistan to address the humanitarian needs of the returning migrants, providing them with necessary support. They also emphasized the importance of protecting registered Afghan refugees and Afghan Citizen Card (ACC) holders in Pakistan from potential harassment by law enforcement agencies.

Expressing concern over continued hostility from Afghanistan towards Pakistan, the speakers highlighted Pakistan’s history of hosting Afghan refugees, providing them with essential facilities such as shelter, healthcare, education, and opportunities for respectable livelihoods.

The discussion participants appealed to the international community to assist Pakistan in supporting existing Afghan refugees and expediting the resettlement applications of potential aspirants. They also called for improvements in the legal framework governing refugees and aliens in Pakistan, aiming for an enhanced system for the administration of aliens and the protection of refugees.

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