PESHAWAR: Around 200,000 Afghans have returned home via Torkham after the government’s drive against undocumented foreigners.

The police in Peshawar and other districts have started checking documents of vendors and shopkeepers in some areas to find if they possessed the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards or any other document legalizing their stay in Pakistan. No mass arrests were reported from any locality.

There were concerns from international bodies as well as human rights organizations over the well-being of those returning home ahead of the harsh winter in Afghanistan.

A large number of those returning home, especially women and children, lack adequate facilities after their repatriation. Many of them don’t have their houses as they had left the country decades back while tens of thousands were born in Pakistan.

“Over 189,000 returned to Afghanistan via Torkham and 2,975 via Angoor Adda till November 7,” an official said. He added the figures of Wednesday were yet to be received.

The ones who have returned also included the PoR card holders and those coming on visas.

As per the official data, over 800 undocumented Afghans were returned from KP, 288 from Punjab, over 200 from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 81 from Islamabad via transit centres in the last over a week.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the police have been directed to take maximum care of women and children during actions against the undocumented foreigners.

“As a goodwill gesture, SP Cantt Waqas Rafiq and Additional Deputy Commissioner Imran Yousufzai along with two female ASPs Nayab and Nazish visited the transit point and met children and women who were leaving for Afghanistan,” said an official. He added that cops and other official teams had been directed to be courteous to Afghan families returning to their homeland after decades.

Besides, teams carrying out the door-to-door verification in different mapped areas had been ordered to be considerate. Different departments have mapped over 49,000 illegal foreigners in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some of them have returned recently.

It has been made clear by the authorities time and again that no action was being taken against Afghans who possessed Proof of Registration cards issued by the UNHCR, Afghan Citizen Cards and valid visas.

Also, the government has stopped the authorities from taking action against those whose cases are under consideration with the UNHCR and they are planning to leave for a third country due to the serious threat to their lives in Afghanistan.

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