Law enforcement agencies in Karachi have launched a large-scale operation to apprehend over 200,000 illegal aliens in the city. This operation comes after the November 1 voluntary departure deadline, which foreign nationals were required to meet. It spans all seven districts of Karachi and targets not only illegal immigrants but also those who assist and shelter them.
Irfan Ali Bahadur, SSP for East District, explained that the federal government had set a one-month deadline for illegal foreign nationals to leave the country voluntarily. To facilitate their surrender, holding centers have been set up in Karachi and across the nation.
While many foreign nationals, especially Afghan citizens, opted to return voluntarily with their families and belongings, those without proper documentation faced arrest. Their criminal records were scrutinized, and they were charged under the Foreigners Act and relevant laws. Subsequently, they were handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for deportation, while refugees with valid documents were released on bail by the court.
This operation was initiated on the orders of Sindh’s caretaker home minister, IG, and AIG of Sindh police, with the participation of SSPs from the seven districts and the leadership of DIGs overseeing three police zones in Karachi. Initial arrests were made by Saddar police, detaining four illegal Afghan aliens, who were later transferred to a Holding Camp for temporary documentation before deportation.
Simultaneously, a substantial police contingent conducted operations in areas like Sohrab Goth, Machar Colony, and Al-Asif Square, detaining several suspects. The operation was accompanied by loudspeaker announcements urging illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country. It is estimated that over 20,000 illegal aliens have returned to their home countries, while 50,000 to 100,000 immigrants still remain. Authorities have identified areas with a high concentration of immigrants for future operations.
In the second phase of this operation, immigrants with illegal documents, including identity cards and passports, will be arrested and face legal consequences before deportation. It has been reported that the Sindh government has blocked the ID cards of most illegal aliens through NADRA, and their assets will be confiscated.
The third phase of the operation will involve the demolition of illegal settlements in various areas of the city, including the Super Highway. The Special Branch SSP is coordinating with other law enforcement agencies, including the police, and heavy machinery will be used to raze illegal settlements. Strict legal action will be taken against those who resist, with the participation of Rangers and other law enforcement agencies.
Official data indicates that approximately 75,000 illegal foreigners reside in District East, 9,000 in District Central, 7,000 in District South, 13,000 in Malir, and 8,000 in District Keamari. Unofficial estimates suggest that more than 400,000 Afghans live in Karachi alone, many of whom are engaged in various jobs such as garbage collection, driving vehicles, and working in shops, retail outlets, and industrial establishments throughout the city.