ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi Wednesday directed government departments to speed up the process to repatriate over 50,000 illegal Pakistani immigrants languishing in Turkey.
Chairing an emergency meeting here at the MoI attended by senior officials of Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), FIA and National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), the Minister said that Pakistan and Turkey have decided to eradicate the human smuggling networks working in these countries while the government has also initiated the process to repatriate around 50,000 Pakistani illegal immigrants languishing in Turkey.
A source in the Ministry of Interior (MoI) told Pakistan Today that the Minister directed to form a three-member committee comprising senior officials from Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) NADRA, MoFA and MoI and directed them to submit an Action Plan for immediate repatriation of Pakistani inmates in Turkey and Greece with clear tasks with timelines mentioned.
The minister also directed for launching an awareness campaign for youth over the suffering being faced by youth due to illegal human smuggling through media. The report of the actions taken would be submitted to Prime Minister Imran Khan by the month-end, the minister added.
The source said the Minister also directed the FIA to intensify its crackdown against human smugglers and no leniency would be tolerated in this regard. The minister told the meeting that during the recently held International Conference under Budapest Process, 21 member-states have reiterated their resolve to dismantle human smuggling so as the suffering humanity could be provided with a reprieve.
The Minister had also held meetings with his counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting held in Istanbul where the three states agreed to take all out measures against human smugglers, the source said.
The Turkish interior minister had informed Shehryar Afridi that the Turkish government had requested former PML-N government to verify its citizens who are languishing in Turkey under human smuggling charges.
Since the arrested youth also include Afghan nationals who also used Pakistani documents and routes to travel to Turkey through Iran and Balochistan, Turkey wanted Pakistan to verify its citizens who could be repatriated back to Pakistan.
However, NADRA had asked Turkey to pay US$ 700,000 as verification charges some years back which made Turkey to officially request new government to waive these charges.
Shehryar Afridi assured his Turkish counterpart to waive off the fee as it was the duty of the government to cater miseries being faced by its citizens. Turkey also requested Pakistan to arrange travel for these Pakistani illegal immigrants as Turkey would have to fly over 12000 flights to send them back to Pakistan which was practically not possible. Hence, Pakistan needed to provide legal documents to these inmates for repatriation.
The Minister directed the NADRA to withdraw its demand made earlier to the Turkish government for verification of around 50,000 youth of Pakistan who are in Turkey.