PM asks Afghan interim setup to handover illegal Pakistanis linked with terrorism, act against TTP hideouts.

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ISLAMABAD, :Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar Wednesday demanded the interim government of Afghanistan to hand over the Pakistani nationals who were illegally residing in Afghanistan and were involved in terrorist activities against their own country.

Addressing a press conference here at the PM House, the prime minister said the government was ready to receive and accept any such illegal Pakistanis.

PM Kakar also asked the Afghan government to take action against the hideouts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its training centres in Afghanistan and ensure that “they must not be used against Pakistan”.

Since the interim government took to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, he said Pakistan witnessed an increase in terrorist incidents by 60 percent besides a 500 percent surge in suicide blasts.

“Pakistan in last two years has lost lives of 2,867 innocent civilians, for which TTP is responsible which is operating from Afghanistan,” he said.

He mentioned that 15 Afghan nationals were found involved in suicide bombings in Pakistan, while 64 Afghans got killed during their fight against the Pakistani law enforcement agencies.

He said Afghan authorities were cognizant of these facts as Pakistan had been sharing these details with them since February this year through the fort-nightly memorandums of protest.

The monitoring team of the United Nations in its report released this July clearly highlighted that TTP centres based in Afghanistan were conducting terrorist operations against Pakistan.

Asked if Pakistan itself would take action against the TTP hideouts in Afghanistan, Kakar said.

“We are hopeful that they [Afghan government] will take an action themselves, which is in their own interest and also in our interest.”

On the military equipment left behind since the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, he said Pakistan had been repeatedly raising concerns with the United States and the Western countries about its implications and its sale in the black market.

Also, he pointed out that there was no clue about the ammunition that was in the possession of the Afghan military comprising 150,000 personnel, and which just “disappeared” after the U.S. withdrawal.

He said Pakistan had taken the right decision against illegal foreigners after the Afghan interim government showed no cooperation in containing the terrorists attacking Pakistan.

Kakar said sending 250,000 illegal people back to their country in a short span was “not an ordinary step and showed the sign that the policy would be implemented successfully”.

On maintaining a balance in relations with Afghanistan in the wake of actions against illegal residents, he hoped that the ties would be improved after the two sides settled their approach and expectations on various matters.

He said the immigrant policy was not meant to target the Pakistani Pashtuns and warned that those involved in the misuse of the decision would be severely punished. Any discrimination on the basis of ethnicity would not be tolerated, he added.

On the status of Afghans who fled to Pakistan after the Taliban took over and awaited relocation to the U.S. and Western countries under the U.S. Special Visa Immigration (SIV) scheme, he said Pakistan was in touch with the countries of their destination and had the necessary database about them.

“They are on temporary and a stop-gap arrangement… We have no objection about them, but we want the countries of their destination to ensure a timeline for their relocation,” he said.

He dismissed the notion that any country including the United States could ‘pressurize’ Pakistan on that matter and said, “Instead of this the ‘requests’ shall be made between the governments.”

He said Pakistan was ready to negotiate the relocation mechanism and would facilitate the process, however stressed that “We will not allow them to live here and they have to leave.”

Asked about reports of clandestine activities of the persons awaiting SIVs in Pakistan, the prime minister said Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were vigilant and were doing their job very professionally.

“They have the will and the capacity to identify and neutralize the terrorists who are determined to continue their fight against the State of Pakistan,” he said.

PM Kakar said Pakistan had the legal and ethical right to send back illegal foreigners and mentioned that there were 1.4 million Afghan refugees currently residing in the country who were registered via the ‘Proof of Residence’ card.

The government registered another 0.8 million under the Afghan citizen card and the persons would not be deported, he said.