• publish: 10 October 2020
  • time: 4:11 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 15651

10 Afghan children smuggled by Taliban into Pakistan to be sent home

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) in Pakistan on Friday placed 10 Afghan children into the custody of the Afghan consulate after ascertaining the minors had been smuggled into Pakistan.

Abdul Hameed Jalili, from the Afghan consulate, who attended the court hearing told journalists the children hailed from Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province. 

He said the children had been sent to Akora Khattak by the Taliban illegally to be enrolled in a madrassa for religious education.

The high court’s chief justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, ordered the consulate to ensure the children are reunited with their parents. 

In addition, he told authorities to continue the investigation and submit their findings to the court. 

The court heard from police, the children were smuggled, without documents, from Badakhshan province in Afghanistan into Pakistan and enrolled in a madrassa in Akora Khattak town in Nowshera.

Dawn News reported that the court heard an application filed by an Afghan refugee cardholder, who said he had brought the children, who are his relatives, to Akora Khattak’s refugee camp.

According to the applicant, the children had been taken away by a madrassa and the administration had refused to let him see the children.

Police told the court that the children had been brought to Pakistan illegally and had no valid documents, while the applicant in turn could not explain how he managed to get the children into Pakistan. 

The court ordered police to arrest the applicant and investigate the matter thoroughly.

When asked why they were brought to Pakistan, the children — all of whom are aged 10 or under — said they were in the country to get religious education.

The bench was told that the children could not speak Pashto or Urdu and a translator was brought in.

The translator told the court that “it seemed as if the children have been brainwashed. They answer each question together.”

The chief justice asked authorities how the children were smuggled into the country without agencies being alerted.

“Children were brought here from Afghanistan and no one knows about this. What are the agencies doing?” Justice Seth asked.

The court also ordered police to arrest staff at the madrassa and to find out if there were other Afghan children at that facility and others. 

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