Pakistan is setting up deportation centers for migrants in the country illegally, including an estimated 1.7 million Afghans, officials said Thursday. Anyone found staying in the country without authorization from next Wednesday will be arrested and sent to one of the centers.
The move is the latest development in a Pakistani government crackdown to expel foreigners without registration or documents.
Jan Achakzai, a spokesman for the government in southwestern Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, said three deportation centers were being set up there. One will be in Quetta, the provincial capital.
Azam Khan, the caretaker chief minister for northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the region also would have three deportation centers. More than 60,000 Afghans have returned home since the crackdown was announced, he said.
Migrants who are living in the country illegally should leave before a Tuesday deadline to avoid arrest, he said.
Pakistan’s caretaker interior minister, Sarfraz Bugti, says the deadline will not be extended.
Bugti said during a news conference Thursday that no migrants living in Pakistan without authorization illegally would be mistreated after their arrests. “They will not be manhandled,” he said, adding that they would get food and medical care until their deportations.
They are allowed to take a maximum of 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($180) out of the country, he said.