As the crackdown against Afghan nationals continues in the wake of the Army Public School attack, four diplomats were also picked up in dragnet arrests in University Town and surrounding areas.
University Town police said the drive against “Afghan nationals illegally residing in the country” took place in the early hours of Thursday. The force raided mostly residential plazas.
At least 28 residents were taken into custody and locked up at the University Town police station. Beside others, the detainees included four diplomats who were on assignments at the Consulate General of Afghanistan in Peshawar. They were identified as Third Secretary Abdul Hameed Wahidi, Transport Officer Ghulam Sakhi Azeemi, Refugees Affairs Officer Dr Alozai and Noor Ahmad Haqjo.
After learning of the arrests, Afghan Consul General Syed Muhammad Ibrahimkhel rushed to the police station around 7am. From there, he established contact with high-ranking police officers. He reportedly told officials over the phone that such actions were against the Geneva Convention.
“I have informed Afghan Ambassador Janan Mosazai in Islamabad and he is going to bring the matter to the notice of the Foreign Office,” Ibrahimkhel said when contacted by The Express Tribune. He said this was not the first time diplomats were harassed.
“Two days ago, I was stopped from proceeding to my office by Military Police.” He added hundreds of Afghans nationals were being arrested and put behind bars.
University Town police confirmed the raids. “Around 28 people were detained and only one of them is in custody whereas the others were set free,” said an official. He added 27 of them produced documents to validate their stay in Pakistan. “Only one of them is being interrogated.”
The detention, arrests and deportation of Afghan nationals gained momentum after the Peshawar school massacre.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2015.