With over 3.7 million Afghan immigrants breathing on its soil since the Soviet invasion of Kabul in 1979, Pakistan has now pledged to eject around 1.7 million of these illegal settlers from across the border in a desperate attempt to reinforce its border sanctity and create a conducive environment for long-elusive investment.

According to a September 24, 2013 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the population of Afghan nationals residing in Pakistan has surged to 3.7 million as of June this year, with a mere 1.3 million of them officially registered with the authorities.And then we have over a million illegal Bengalis living in Karachi alone. On June 16, 2018, the Karachi-based “Dawn” newspaper had reported: “An overwhelming number of Karachi’s Bengali community remains out of the finalized electoral rolls for the general elections because they do not possess a CNIC, a prerequisite for being on the electoral rolls as per Elections Act 2017. The community, whose strength in Karachi is estimated to be around two million, has a sizable number of people who either do not possess a government-issued ID or their CNICs have been revoked on suspicion of being illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Social and political activists belonging to the Bengali community of Karachi estimate this number to be around 1.2 million.”On March 14, 2019, a report of the Pew Research Centre, a Washington DC-based nonpartisan American think tank, had revealed that the largest migrant-receiving countries included the United States (44.10 million or 18 %), Germany (12.17 million or 5%), Russia (11.65 million or about 5%), the United Kingdom (8.84 million), France (7.9 million), Canada (7.86 million), Australia (7.04 million), Spain (5.95 million), Italy (5.91 million) and South Africa (4.04 million).Interestingly, the Pew Research Centre had somehow failed to mention Pakistan’s name after South Africa as being home to almost four million immigrants.Other countries feeding foreign-born populations are Japan, (2.32 million) Netherlands (2.06 million), Israel (1.96 million), Sweden (1.75 million), Mexico (1.22 million), Greece (1.22 million), Poland (6, 40,000) and Hungary (5,00,000).After conducting the afore-cited survey in 2019, the Pew Research Centre had viewed: “The 18 nations surveyed contain more than half (51%) of the world’s migrant population, or some 127 million people, according to the United Nations and the United States Census Bureau. Countries with some of the world’s largest immigrant populations were surveyed, including more traditional destinations like the United States, Canada and Australia that have seen waves of immigrants arrive since at least the 19th Century. Also surveyed were more recent destination countries in the European Union such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Greece, all of which experienced immigration waves after World War !!.”The prestigious American think-tank had maintained: “Japan and Israel were also surveyed. Japan is making efforts to attract more migrants due to its aging population. Israel has been a destination for immigrants since it enacted its 1950 Law of Return for Jewish people worldwide. Russia was surveyed since it has one of the world’s largest foreign-born populations. At the same time, South Africa continues to be a top destination country for many Africans. Also included in the survey were some newer destinations. Mexico, for example, has become an increasingly important destination and transit country for migrants fleeing violence from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.”It had further viewed: “Similarly, Hungary became an important transit country for migrants entering Europe during the refugee surge that peaked in 2015. And although Poland for many years was a country of emigration, it has seen a recent wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe.”It goes without saying that in most recent times, nearly six million refugees fleeing Ukraine have been recorded since May 2022 across Slovakia, Poland and other parts of Europe, while an estimated eight million others had stood displaced within the war-ravaged country.The still-ongoing refugee crisis had begun in Europe in late February 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On September 29, 2023, France’s premier “Le Monde” newspaper had written: “The country’s population was estimated to be between 38 and 42 million on February 24, 2022. Since then, between 5 and 8 million people have emigrated. A significant proportion of them are likely to settle abroad permanently. Some countries have offered attractive prospects for integration.”

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