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Illegal migrants must leave Pakistan by November 1

Pakistan issued a final warning to all immigrants who entered the country illegally, including hundreds of thousands of Afghans, asking them to leave the country voluntarily by November 1, the country’s Interim Interior Minister stated on Thursday.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti told a news conference in Islamabad that Pakistan was determined to expel all illegal immigrants after a deadline.

All the illegal immigrants have been identified. The state has complete data. I want to appeal one more time that all the illegal immigrants should leave voluntarily by the deadline.

Pakistani authorities announced their intention in October. The decision to remove migrants from the country followed revelations of Afghan nationals’ involvement in crimes, smuggling and attacks on the government and army, including 14 of 24 suicide bombings this year.

Bugti has warned that once November begins, law enforcement agencies will launch a forced removal operation. The minister also cautioned that those found to be facilitating or hiding immigrants would be punished.

The authorities will provide exit assistance to those who leave Pakistan voluntarily, including document preparation, currency exchange authorisation and transport.

The country has received the largest surge of Afghan refugees since the Soviet military operation in Kabul in 1979. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have moved to Pakistan to escape war and conflict, with many registered as refugees by the government and UN agencies.

Pakistan claims that militants use Afghan land to train soldiers and plan attacks within Pakistan. Afghanistan rejected the accusation, claiming that Pakistan’s security is an internal issue.

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