Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti on Tuesday announced a November 1 deadline for illegal immigrants in the country to leave Pakistan, otherwise, all law enforcement agencies would deport them. The interior minister was addressing a press conference in Islamabad and briefing the media on the details of the decisions taken during a meeting of the apex committee on the National Action Plan at the Prime Minister’s House. The army chief, federal ministers, provincial chief ministers and heads of all civil and military agencies were present at the meeting. “The most important thing that was decided was that the welfare and security of a Pakistani are most important for us over any country or its policy. The first decision taken is about our illegal immigrants who are living in Pakistan through illegal means. “We have given them a deadline of Nov 1 to willingly return to their countries and if they don’t, all law enforcement agencies (LEAs) of the state and provinces will deport them.” Bugti said all stakeholders were “taken in the loop” for the decision Separately, interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said illegal immigrants now had 28 days to leave Pakistan. Bugti said the same deadline would apply for entry into Pakistan without a passport or visa, adding that people would not be able to enter the country without those documents after Nov 1. He said entry without the aforementioned documents was not allowed in any other country of the world. Bugti said those arriving with legal documents and who formally entered the tax net would be promoted. He added that there were currently 1.73 million unregistered illegal Afghans living in the country. The interior minister added that e-tazkiras (electronic Afghan identity cards) would be accepted from October 10-31 and afterwards the abovementioned passport and visa policy would apply. Furthermore, he said Nov 1 onwards an operation would kick off, by a task force already created in the interior ministry, that would target illegal properties and businesses owned by illegal immigrants or that were being run in collaboration with Pakistanis. “Our intelligence agencies and LEAs will find them and the authorities will seize those properties and businesses. The Pakistanis involved in this facilitation will be sentenced as per the law.” He added that the task force would also initiate proceedings to crack down on illegal identity cards and passports since they were used for nefarious means. Bugti said DNA testing would also be utilised to detect such people who were Pakistani identity cardholders despite not being Pakistani. He said a universal helpline number and a web portal were also being launched for people to come forward as anonymous informants to give information about illegal ID cards, illegal immigrants and other illegal practices such as smuggling and hoarding. The interior minister added that reward money would be set as well under the informant scheme. Bugti also talked about the establishment of joint checkposts to curb smuggling and hoarding, adding that crackdowns on illicit money transfers and power theft would also be ramped up. Similarly, he said strict measures were also going to be taken against narcotics.The interior minister said the monopoly of violence belonged to the state and it would allow no other entity to exercise it whether it was done so under political violence, militancy, ethnicity, religion or under any other garb. State media had reported a day ago that the caretaker government has decided to evict 1.1m foreigners living illegally in Pakistan because of their involvement in funding and facilitating terrorists and other illegal activities. The development comes as the most recent in the state’s crackdown on Afghan refugees. September has seen an alarming rise in the rounding up and detention of Afghan refugees. The government cites illegal immigration and rising crime as the reasons behind the crackdown. Around 1.3m Afghans are registered refugees and 880,000 more have legal status to remain in Pakistan, according to the latest United Nations figures. Police and politicians have said a recent round-up targets only those without legal status and is in response to rising crime and poor regulation of immigration that is straining resources. Meanwhile, Afghans say the arrests have been indiscriminate.