Pakistan has taken a significant and controversial step by ordering 1.7 million Afghan individuals living irregularly within its borders to leave the country or face deportation by November 1. To enforce this directive, a network of holding centers is being established across Pakistan. This move has garnered criticism from human rights organizations and legal experts, who see it as an extraordinary crackdown on Afghan residents.

For years, Pakistan has been a refuge for millions of Afghans who have fled their homeland due to the prolonged conflict. This has made Pakistan home to one of the world’s largest refugee populations. However, the relationship between the two neighboring countries has deteriorated since the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

Since the Taliban’s takeover, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have crossed the border into Pakistan. In response, Pakistan justifies these deportations as measures aimed at safeguarding the nation’s welfare and security. Anti-Afghan sentiments have been on the rise in Pakistan, driven by ongoing economic challenges and an increase in cross-border conflicts.

The Afghan embassy in Islamabad has strongly criticized Pakistan’s decision, labeling it as “harassment.” This move has stirred considerable debate and raised concerns about the fate of Afghan individuals who have sought refuge in Pakistan for years.

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