ISLAMABAD: The federal government has restrained police across the country from arresting Afghan Ismailis living in Pakistan without documentation, as the Canadian government has announced their relocation.
According to a notification, “Exemption from arrest IRO illegal foreigners destined to third countries”, issued by the Ministry of Interior, Islamabad, dated November 2, 2023, members of the Afghan Ismaili community shall not be arrested till further notice.
The notification was sent to the inspectors general of police (IGPs) Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh along with all other quarters concerned.
It stated that the Afghan Ismailis currently living in Pakistan are being considered by the government of Canada for resettlement for which formalities shall be initiated shortly. Lists of the Ismaili community members from Afghanistan were enclosed with the notification to the police.
It may be noted that the caretaker government had given the deadline of October 31 for all Afghan nationals illegally living in Pakistan to leave the country or face deportation. So far thousands of such Afghans have returned tot their country.
Last month, the government had given an ultimatum to all undocumented immigrants to leave Pakistan by October 31 or risk imprisonment and deportation to their respective countries. The government decided to keep foreign nationals residing in the country without identity documents in “holding centres” before deporting them to their respective countries.