Not a single person granted ‘refugee status’: Rashid

Refutes impression that many places had been vacated for foreigners evacuating from Kabul

APP August 30, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addressing the media in Islamabad: AFP/FILE


Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday clarified that so far no ‘refugee status’ had been granted to anyone in the wake of foreigners’ evacuation and takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Addressing a news conference, the minister said that on a daily basis, many people come and return back from the Chaman border as per past practice related to trade activities while there was no extra burden on borders.

He added as per the official data so far some 1,627 people from Afghanistan had to face the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) immigration process in Pakistan at the Islamabad airport. Besides, 2,192 were those who moved in after clearance from the FIA immigration at the Torkham border.

Also read: Pakistan all set to host people leaving Afghanistan

Rashid said that mostly Pakistanis had been evacuated from Afghanistan while around 30 to 40 Pakistanis were still in Afghanistan and were not ready to come back due to various reasons such as the presence of their family members there.

He said that the government had fixed August 30 as the last date for those who were overstaying in Pakistan.

The minister said the government had issued visas for a further 21 to 30 days while around 600 to 700 people did not apply for visas or immigration. He said there was no threat to the government as it drew strength from the support of the country’s people.

The minister said that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazalur-Rehan should play a responsible role and avoid giving baseless statements like giving Pakistan’s land to other countries. “We as a responsible country offer our support on humanitarian grounds to those leaving Afghanistan,” he added.

Read more: Afghan transit passengers to land only in Islamabad

He contradicted the impression being created by PDM leaders that many places had been vacated for foreigners coming from Afghanistan.

The minister said foreigners were staying at hotels, not any public place while bearing their own expenses.

Responding to the PDM’s announcement of a march on Islamabad, while inviting PDM leaders including JUI-F chief to come to Islamabad, Rashid said, “They will be treated as per law and constitution, which they truly deserve. This is new Pakistan.”

Commenting on PDM’s public gathering, he said that the timing and place of their gathering were not appropriate as they were unaware of the prevailing changing political situation.

He said that the opposition had no capability to stand against the politics of Prime Minister Imran Khan who was serving the nation honestly and with a dedication to change the destiny of the country.

He added opposition had nothing to convince people if they go for an election campaign and they had to face historical defeat.

He reminded the opposition leaders that still two years were left before the next elections and many decisions of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases were expected in these two years. 


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