Pakistan’s jailed former PM Imran Khan says treatment meted out to Afghan refugees against Islamic values

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LAHORE: Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan has said the treatment being meted out to Afghan refugees in the country is contrary to the core values of Islam and its social values. In a message from jail which his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party issued here on Friday said 71-year-old Khan has made it clear that the treatment being given to Afghan refugees was contrary to the teachings of Islam, the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and our social and moral traditions.

Pakistan has started deporting illegal Afghan nationals since early last month citing the rise of terrorism because of them. The government has listed some 1.7 million Afghan nationals as illegal.

Khan said that Afghan nationals should be treated with dignity and respect because both countries had a centuries-long relationship based on brotherhood and mutual respect.

“Talking of the maltreatment of Afghan refugees, Khan reminded that hijra had a special place in Islam as Hazrat Musa, Hazrat Ibrahim, and Prophet Muhammad as also other Prophets had experienced this in their lives. He stressed that it is obligatory upon us as a nation to take special care of the refugees seeking asylum in our country who had been deprived of their homes and lands as a result of wars and disasters and treat them with kindness and respect,” the PTI statement said.

It said Khan emphasised that Afghanistan is our brotherly neighbouring Islamic country and people of both countries are bound together in relations of brotherhood spread over centuries.

Khan further said that nations can’t change their neighbours and they need each other’s support from time to time.

He underlined that trust-based relations with neighbours will guarantee the future security of Pakistan.

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Khan pointed out that Pakistan served Afghan refugees for 40 years and the positive impact of decades-long warm hospitality was being nullified by pursuing poor strategy.

“Some 1.5 million refugees are not an unbearable burden on a nation of 250 million people. A sizable majority of refugees who came to Pakistan seeking asylum belonged to the poorest segments of the society,” Khan said, warning that negative sentiments would instil in the entire Afghan nation due to the failure to handle the refugee issue with civility, courtesy, and wisdom.

He warned that the ill feelings and bitterness caused by the poor strategy would become a part of their psyche, which would remain a permanent huddle in building durable bilateral relations between the two countries.

Khan said the current approach of herding Afghan refugees like sheep should be abandoned instantly. He advised them to deliberate on the whole issue wisely and adopt a dignified way by safeguarding the self-respect of the refugees.

Khan has been in jail since this August in different cases.

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