In an operation against illegal Afghan settlements on the Torkham border, authorities razed 318 houses of Afghan citizens to the ground.

These residents have been living in the area for the last 40 years. The operation cleanup was carried out according to the standard procedures; the authorities had served notices to the Afghan citizens to vacate the border area and shift their families back to Afghanistan and on the expiration of the last notice, upon inaction, they started demolishing houses near the porous Pak-Afghan border.

While it is regrettable that the families living there had lost their decades old homes, the move was an important and integral one to ensure that infiltration in the areas of the North, that have been cleared by the Army, does not pose a problem anymore. However, the number of houses demolished is jarring as authorities, rather than closing the porous border, are content with long winded procedures that start at police harassment and end at destruction of property. Authorities both sides of the border have failed to demarcate the Durand line to encourage their respective citizens to build homes and communities within their allowed jurisdiction. A border with controls would stem the tide of illegal immigrants and discourage people from living on both sides of the border.

We can no longer sympathise with illegal immigrants considering the scope of the expansive terrorist networks in the country. Each person that goes unaccounted for is a threat to security agencies that have worked hard to unearth terrorist networks and sympathisers. There is no restriction on the illegal Afghanis living in Pakistan to return to Afghanistan and apply for immigration through legal means. However the deportation of illegal immigrants was inevitable.