Imran Khan and illegal Afghans residing in Pakistan

DND Thought CenterImran Khan and illegal Afghans residing in Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan: On Thursday night, former Chairman PTI Imran Khan took to his social media account to tweet and oppose the Pakistan government’s decision to deport illegal Afghan nationals while giving his populous justifications.

The long-awaited decision to protect Pakistan’s economy and society from illegal Afghans has been taken because the foremost responsibility of the state of Pakistan is towards its Pakistani population, their lives and property are the most important, not the illegal people of any other countries who have become a great threat to the lives and property of Pakistanis.

Imran Khan while building his populous narrative in favour of illegal Afghans used the Islamic concept of migration. He is quoting the history of Islam in a completely incorrect way and connecting it with the illegal presence of these illegal Afghans in Pakistan.

Since his understanding of Islamic values is sketchy and rather Westernized his knowledge of Islamic history is quite weird and he had been telling fabricated stories in the past also, one should forgive him for the misunderstanding he has about Hijrat (migration)—a concept of Islamic values because Imran Khan has neither read Islamic values nor told to him by anyone.

Connecting the return of illegal people in the 21st century with a meaningful process like Hijrat also shows ignorance of Imran’s facts because after the establishment of the nation-state, now movement of any person is according to international law, consequently, travel of Afghans to Pakistan and living here without valid documents cannot be linked with the Islamic migration values. Can anybody from Pakistan visit or live in any Muslim country without a legal permit, passport, and other valid travel documents?

Imran Khan and many others like him are using the deportation of illegal Afghans to gain political mileage while this issue is very critical for the security and sovereignty of Pakistan. The state of Pakistan is avoiding starting an open debate on this sensitive issue because the late Gen Ziaul Haq is responsible for all the mess that Pakistan has been facing for the last 45 years. Since there is a tradition that anybody in uniform takes the best decisions for the best interest of the country, therefore open discussion over this historic blunder of Gen Ziaul Haq has been discouraged in Pakistan otherwise everything would be crystal clear that legal or illegal Afghans have ruined social fabrics of Pakistan that were a popular country in the 70s for peaceful environments and famous for interfaith, inter-ethnic and inter-sectarian harmony. From radicalization to drugs and from drugs to weaponization of Pakistani society is linked with nothing but with decisions taken by Gen Ziaul Haq for the “larger interest of Pakistan”.

Pakistan became the only country in the world that compromised and sacrificed its social fabric by hosting Afghan refugees and the whole world is grateful and recognized Pakistan’s hosting of Afghan refugees for the last forty years without discrimination, which is unparalleled in the whole world.

Pakistan has always shown generosity and provided all kinds of help to these Afghans and spared no expense to them. By taking advantage of this they took full part in every sphere of life, the loss of which would be Pakistan’s security, livelihood, and social security.

Being a former Prime Minister, Imran Khan should have accepted how the land of Afghanistan has been and is still being used for terrorism against Pakistan, the evidence that the whole world has seen with its own eyes.

Some irrefutable facts must be remembered while talking about the issue of illegal Afghans residing in Pakistan. Some of them include:

  • Millions of legal and illegal Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan since 1979 Afghan Jihad and Pakistan invited three million refugees who now have multiplied in figure. Another grave issue is a constant increase in illegal/unregistered Afghanis. Some official reports claim that the number of legal/illegal Afghanis has crossed to over 12 million plus.
  • The government of Pakistan has never taken any holistic action against registered Afghan refugees during the last 45 years and allowed them to stay in Pakistan several times in the past due to UNHCR requests.
  • Afghanis have not integrated themselves with Pakistani society, culture, and even laws because they consider their customs more important than Pakistani laws and Pakistani customs.
  • No foreigner can become a citizen of any country without going through an official integration process because integration with culture, history, norms, society, and customs is a prerequisite for converting any foreigner into a responsible citizen. These three fundamentals bind individuals into social groups and groups into nations which then transform into the concept of motherland.
  • Afghanis are not interested in integrating into the culture of Pakistan and their innate aversion towards the agrarian culture doesn’t let them assimilate with Pakistan.
  • Afghanis had been allowed to enter Pakistan without a valid visa/passport and they earned money from Pakistan and smuggled it in the form of US$ to Afghanistan. It is understood that Afghanis do not consider Pakistan as their motherland, so just use Pakistan for their economic gains.
  • The entire façade of Pak-Afghan brotherhood was standing on religion, but sociologists and anthropologists believe that religion is never a pre-requisite for a motherland and nationhood. The concept of motherland is based on emotional and symbolic significance which can have spiritual dimensions. The term is used for ancestral land and goes beyond mere physical and political boundaries. The ancestral roots of Pakistani culture and oral history are not aligned at any layer with Afghanis.
  • Illegal Afghans are brutally looting the resources of the host country, wreaking havoc on the latter’s economy and weakening its currency to somehow consolidate its economy in the isolated Afghanistan.
  • An illegal parallel economy like Hawala and Hundi is solely operated by Afghans sitting abroad from where they send money to Pakistan, encouraging Pakistanis living abroad not to use banking channels for the transfer of money thereby Pakistani remittances are nosediving.
  • Dollar smuggling from Pakistan is (was) 100 percent in the hands of Afghans who are transferring US$ from Pakistan to Afghanistan which is stabilizing the economy of Afghanistan and destabilizing Pakistan’s economy, therefore Afghans have been involved in Economic Terrorism against Pakistan because of illegal outflow of US dollars from Pakistan has reduced foreign reserves in Pakistan and increased pressure on the rupee, with the domestic currency falling to record lows and the economy teetering on the brink of collapse.

One can refuse to accept or contest the statement that illegal Afghans are involved in launching economic terrorism against Pakistan. To answer such people, one should cite what parameters/points are considered “economic terrorism” by international organizations.

In 2005 the Geneva Centre for Security Policy defined economic terrorism in the following terms:

Contrary to “economic warfare” which is undertaken by states against other states, “economic terrorism” would be undertaken by transnational or non-state actors. This could entail varied, coordinated, and sophisticated or massive destabilizing actions to disrupt the economic and financial stability of a state, a group of states, or a society for ideological or religious motives. These actions, if undertaken, may be violent or not. They could have either immediate effects or psychological effects which in turn have economic consequences.

The Economic Terrorism impacts as:

  • Immediate Loss of Human and Nonhuman Capital.
  • Effects of Uncertainty on Consumer and Investor Behavior.
  • Effects of Retrenchment on Specific Industries or Localities.
  • Increased costs of security analogous to a “security” or “terrorist tax”.
  • Impact on supply chains.
  • Smuggling of currency for bleeding the country economically.
  • Smuggling of edible products to create serious food security in the target country.
  • Encouraging undocumented economy.
  • Controlling routes for disrupting supply chains.
  • Attacking and harassing local and foreign investors (reference attacks on Chinese experts and ransom threats to industrialists, businessmen, and traders in Pakistan).

Related Material: An Economic Model of Terrorism

Not such a situation Pakistan had been facing in the past and whenever anybody was arrested for being involved in these activities, data confirmed that he was an Afghan.

This is strange that a person who had been prime minister of Pakistan must have the above-mentioned facts but instead of protecting his country, Imran Khan is defending Afghan’s case and instigating his followers that Pakistan is making the wrong decision by sending illegal Afghans back to the country.

Moreover, Pakistan is taking extra care while sending illegal Afghans back to their country and COAS Gen Asim Munir has ensured that these people were sent back in a dignified manner and must be provided logistic support.

Imran Khan who always says that he knows the West better than anybody in Pakistan must remember what are prerequisites provided by United Nations charters for refugees and for travelling. Afghanistan is under no occupation from any foreign boots and there is no war going on among factions therefore anybody who comes from Afghanistan cannot be a refugee under international laws. Moreover, anybody who wishes to visit a foreign country must have official/valid travel documents like visas and passports.

The latest statement of Imran Khan over illegal Afghan refugees indicates that he either is an ignorant person having no knowledge of basic norms and rules of international traveling or he has gone too far in his hate against Pakistan that he is ready to fight any action of the state of Pakistan that can save the country from further disasters. Can such a person be a national leader? is an important question that should be answered by his followers.

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