Afghan journalists in Pakistan

Afghan journalists stuck in Pakistan demand attention to their plights

A group of Afghan journalists, who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country, held a protest rally today in Islamabad calling on countries and organisations to provide them with financial assistance and to expedite their resettlement cases.

Mahmood Kochi said he and his fellow journalists were harassed by Pakistani police, and, with their visas already expired, they faced deportation to Afghanistan. “We cannot work and our children cannot get an education. And we do not get any financial support,” he said.

Khatera Ahmadi, another protester, said that Afghan journalists stuck in Pakistan are forgotten by the countries who promised to resettle them. “Our asylum cases are not being processed,” she said.

The protesters called on the UNHCR to prioritise the journalists’ cases and find a solution to their Pakistani visa problems.

On Friday, a group of civil and human rights activists also held a protest rally, demanding action on their plights.

Sakina Naiman, a women’s rights activist, told KabulNow that “The extremely difficult circumstances in Pakistan have made many of us to even consider returning to Afghanistan despite the grave risks to our lives. With no income, the provision of visa, a place to live and food add to the suffering of immigration.”

The Taliban’s take over of Afghanistan in August 2021 forced hundreds of Afghan journalists and those working in the country’s once vibrant media organisations to flee to Pakistan, with some resettled in the West and many living in limbo waiting to have their applications processed. The country has also become home to hundreds of activists who await to be resettled.