LAHORE: The Home Department has called for a crackdown on illegal immigrants from Africa settled in Lahore who are allegedly involved in crimes like drug smuggling and prostitution, though previous such crackdowns have yielded little result, The Express Tribune has learnt.
In a classified circular titled ‘Activities of Illegal African Immigrants, District Lahore’, the Home Department directs the capital city police officer (CCPO) and the district coordination officer to liaise with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for action against the immigrants.
The document, available with The Express Tribune, states that there are some 2,000 illegal immigrants from Africa living in Lahore, mainly in Kotha Pind, D-Block, Faisal Town; Khan Plaza, Firdous Market, Gulberg; and near the vegetable market in Mecca Colony.
Most of these immigrants are from Tanzania and many are involved in drug trafficking and bootlegging, gambling and prostitution, alleges the report. Some also run Internet cafes, it says.
A search operation was carried out at Kotha Pind in Faisal Town about a month and half ago, led by the Model Town superintendent of police, and a large numbers of these illegal immigrants were arrested. A similar operation was carried out in 2011.
However, the illegal immigrants netted in the raids were not deported but were released on bail and remain in the country, said FIA officials on the condition of anonymity. They said that deportation was a complex, long and expensive process. The Home Department circular calls on the city government and the police to identify the illegal immigrants involved in crime and report them to the Home Department, which would then take up the matter with the FIA for necessary legal action.
“All efforts should be made to identify and apprehend the illegal immigrants involved in illegal activities,” it states.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.