Pakistan shuts Afghan schools as deadline for deportation approaches

Pakistani flag

Following Pakistan's decision to expel nearly 1.7 million foreign nationals, primarily Afghans, schools teaching Afghan children in Pakistan have started closing their doors for them, reported Khaama Press.

The closure of schools is primarily affecting Afghan girls in Pakistan as it may mark the end of their education for the foreseeable future.

Leading to this, many of these Afghan women are forced to return to Afghanistan, where the Taliban government has already prohibited them from accessing secondary education.

The Pakistani government initiated an extensive crackdown on the estimated 1.7 million Afghans residing in the country without legal status, leaving them until October 31 to leave or face mass arrests, Khaama Press reported.

Sixteen-year-old Nargis Rezaei, along with her family, sought refuge in Pakistan in August 2021 when the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan and said, "We came here to be educated, to have a good life."

"Not every Afghan wants to return to Afghanistan, especially girls who have minimal freedom there," she added.

The fear of deportation has led to a significant drop in school attendance and a two-third decrease in enrollment, which has resulted in the closure of these schools, according to Khaama Press.

Moreover, the United Nations (UN) reported a significant rush of Afghan migrants into Pakistan since the Taliban's takeover, with at least 600,000 individuals crossing the border.

Reportedly, the mass deportation shows the dire situation in Afghanistan, as they have been forced to take refugee for their safety in neighbouring countries like Pakistan due to the uncertainty and instability.

This calls for the urgent need for humanitarian assistance and international support to address the needs of Afghan migrants, who are left with no other choice but to flee from their homeland in search of security and a better future, reported Khaama Press.

As many as 86,000 undocumented Afghan nationals have so far returned to their country while one hundred and forty-nine families returned to Afghanistan in one hundred and seventy-four trucks during the last twenty-four hours.

Since October, Pakistan's interim government issued a deadline of November 1 for over 1.7 million undocumented migrants in the country to depart.

The strict warning by the Pakistan government implied that those who fail to comply with this ultimatum may face imprisonment and deportation.

According to Khaama Press, as the deadline approaches, reports revealed that a sense of fear and apprehension has intensified among the migrant community in Pakistan.

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