Pakistan’s Highest Court Hears Petition on Forceful Deportation of Afghan Nationals Born in the Country

December 2, 2023 | by b1og.net


In a recent hearing, Pakistan’s highest court addressed a petition filed by human rights activists regarding the forceful deportation of Afghan nationals born in the country. The government’s crackdown, which started last month, targets Afghans without proper documentation or papers, and has led to the return of hundreds of thousands of Afghans to their homeland. However, critics argue that this puts their lives at risk, as conditions in Afghanistan remain dire, especially at the border. The petition aims to halt these deportations and restore the basic rights of these individuals. The court has asked the government for a response and has adjourned the hearing until next week.

Pakistans Highest Court Hears Petition on Forceful Deportation of Afghan Nationals Born in the Country

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In Pakistan’s ongoing crackdown on Afghans without papers, the country’s highest court is now hearing a petition by human rights activists. The petition seeks to halt the forceful deportation of Afghans who were born in Pakistan and those who would be at risk if they were returned to Afghanistan. This crackdown has been part of the government’s efforts to address the issue of undocumented foreigners in the country, but it has faced criticism for its treatment of Afghan refugees.


Pakistan’s crackdown on Afghans without papers

The government in Islamabad launched a nationwide crackdown last month on Afghans who are in Pakistan without papers or proper documentation. While Pakistan claims that the campaign does not specifically target Afghans, they make up the majority of foreigners in the country. Pakistan has been a host to approximately 1.7 million Afghan refugees, most of whom fled during the Soviet occupation in the late 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, more than half a million people fled Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

Number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan

The number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan has been significant, with approximately 1.7 million Afghans seeking refuge in the country. These refugees have been living in Pakistan for several years, with many having been born in the country. Their integration into Pakistani society has posed complex challenges in terms of education, health care, and employment opportunities.

Deportations and arrests

Since the launch of the crackdown, Pakistan has given Afghans until the end of the month to either return to Afghanistan or face arrest. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have chosen to return, with many being deported after arrest raids organized by Pakistan. The forceful deportations have raised concerns among human rights activists, U.N. officials, and others who argue that deporting Afghans back to their country poses significant risks to their safety and well-being.

Criticism of Pakistan’s policy

Pakistan’s policy and approach towards Afghan refugees have faced extensive criticism. Human rights activists argue that the basic rights of Afghans are being violated through the forceful deportations. The petition filed by the activists seeks to address these concerns and protect the rights of Afghans who are at risk if they are returned to Afghanistan. The criticism also comes from international organizations that have urged Pakistan to reconsider its policy and approach towards Afghan refugees.

Details of the Petition

Filing of the petition

The petition filed by human rights activists aims to halt the forceful deportation of Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan and those who would be endangered if they were returned to Afghanistan. The petition seeks to address the violation of basic rights that these individuals are facing due to the government’s crackdown. It highlights the risks that these Afghans would face if they were forced to return to a country still grappling with security challenges and instability.

Violation of basic rights

The petition argues that the forceful deportation of Afghan refugees violates their basic rights, including the right to life, security, and protection from persecution. It emphasizes the responsibility of Pakistan to ensure the safety and well-being of those who sought refuge in the country. By forcefully deporting Afghans, Pakistan risks endangering their lives and subjecting them to further harm.


Government’s authority to implement policy shifts

The petition also questions the authority of the current interim government in Pakistan to introduce major policy shifts, such as the crackdown on Afghan refugees. According to the petitioners, the interim government, which is in place until February elections, should only handle day-to-day matters of state, and major policy decisions should be left to the elected government. The petition raises concerns about the legitimacy and legality of the government’s actions.

Response from the Court

Government asked for a response

Upon hearing the petition, the court has requested a response from the government regarding the forceful deportation of Afghan refugees. This development indicates that the court is taking the concerns raised by human rights activists seriously. By requesting a response, the court aims to gain a better understanding of the government’s justifications for its policies and actions.

Adjournment of the hearing

The court has adjourned the hearing of the petition until next week, allowing both the petitioners and the government to provide their arguments and evidence. This adjournment reflects the court’s commitment to conducting a thorough examination of the case and reaching a fair and just decision. The extra time also provides an opportunity for the court to review the complexities and implications surrounding the crackdown on Afghan refugees.

Impact of the petition on the crackdown

While the petition is an important step in raising awareness and challenging Pakistan’s policy, its immediate impact on the crackdown is uncertain. The court’s decision will determine whether the forceful deportations will be halted or modified. However, regardless of the court’s ruling, the petition brings attention to the plight of Afghan refugees and casts a critical eye on the government’s actions. It highlights the need for a balanced and humane approach towards refugees and the importance of protecting their rights.

Taliban’s Response

Taliban denounces the deportations

The Taliban, who now hold power in Afghanistan, have denounced the forceful deportations of Afghan citizens from Pakistan. The spokesperson for the refugees and repatriation ministry in Kabul stated that 410,000 Afghan citizens have returned from Pakistan in the past two months. The Taliban’s denouncement of the deportations highlights the challenges faced by Afghan returnees and the desperate conditions they encounter upon returning to their homeland.

Return of Afghan citizens

The return of Afghan citizens from Pakistan has been met with significant challenges. Afghans who leave Pakistan face dire conditions, especially at the border region of Torkham in eastern Afghanistan. Aid groups and the U.N. have been providing essential services such as healthcare, nutrition, and medical support. However, the lack of essential resources, including running water, sanitation, and electricity, exacerbates the difficult circumstances for returnees.

Conditions at the border

The border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan remains a critical point of concern for Afghan citizens returning from Pakistan. Limited infrastructure and scarce resources make it challenging for returnees to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into Afghan society. The lack of privacy and adequate space, particularly for women and children, poses further challenges and underscores the urgency in addressing the needs of returnees.

Lack of essential services

The lack of essential services and resources at the border further complicates the situation for returnees. Limited funding, donor fatigue, and scarce resources have created an unsustainable environment for aid organizations to provide comprehensive support. International organizations, including the Islamic Relief aid agency, have highlighted the pressing need for increased funding and resources to ensure the well-being and stability of returnees.

Concerns and Challenges

Limited resources and donor fatigue

The ongoing influx of Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan has stretched the resources and capacities of both the Afghan and Pakistani governments. Donor fatigue, limited funding, and competing humanitarian crises around the world add further challenges to providing adequate support and services to returnees. There is an urgent need for increased international support and sustained funding to address the complex needs of Afghan returnees.

Challenges faced by returnees

Returning to Afghanistan after years of seeking refuge in Pakistan presents a multitude of challenges for Afghan citizens. Reintegration into society, access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities are among the pressing issues that must be addressed. The Taliban’s return to power has also raised concerns about the safety and security of returnees, especially for those who may have faced persecution or threats in the past.

Parallel with extreme situations

The rapid influx of hundreds of thousands of people across the border in a short period of time has drawn parallels with extreme humanitarian situations. The scale and urgency of the crisis require an exceptional response that considers the complex needs and vulnerabilities of Afghan returnees. International support, collaboration, and a long-term approach are necessary to address the challenges and provide sustainable solutions.

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Impact on Registered Refugees

Assurance from Pakistan

Pakistan has assured that its crackdown on Afghan refugees without proper documentation will not affect the estimated 1.4 million Afghans who are registered as refugees and living in various parts of the country. Many registered refugees have gradually moved out of refugee camps and established lives in rural and urban areas of Pakistan. While their legal status offers some protection, challenges still arise in terms of accessing essential services and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

Afghan refugees living in Pakistan

Afghan refugees who are considered legal residents in Pakistan continue to face challenges, including limited access to education and healthcare services. Despite their registered status, they often encounter discrimination and face economic hardships. The well-being and integration of registered refugees into society remain ongoing concerns that require further attention and support from the Pakistani government and international organizations.

Unlikely impact of the petition

While the petition raises important concerns and sheds light on the situation faced by Afghan refugees, its immediate impact on the government’s crackdown is uncertain. The court’s decision will determine the fate of the forceful deportations. However, the petition serves as a crucial tool in advocating for the rights of Afghan refugees and emphasizing the need for a fair, compassionate, and human rights-centered approach towards refugees and migrants.

Security analyst’s perspective

According to a security analyst, the petition is unlikely to have a significant impact on the government’s crackdown. The analyst highlights the importance of the government’s ability to justify its actions and policies to the Supreme Court. However, the analyst acknowledges the role of the petition in bringing attention to the issue and creating a dialogue on the treatment of Afghan refugees. The perspectives of security analysts contribute to a holistic understanding of the situation and encourage critical analysis of government actions.


The ongoing petition in Pakistan’s highest court brings attention to the forceful deportation of Afghan refugees, particularly those born in the country and those at risk if returned to Afghanistan. While the impact of the petition remains uncertain, it raises important concerns about the violation of basic rights and challenges the government’s authority to implement major policy shifts. The denouncement of the deportations by the Taliban and the difficulties faced by Afghan returnees highlight the urgent need for comprehensive support and resources. The challenges and concerns surrounding limited resources, donor fatigue, and the reintegration of returnees emphasize the need for sustained international support. The situation also underscores the importance of prioritizing the rights and well-being of refugees and migrants in policy decisions and humanitarian responses.

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