Big relief for Afghan woman staying in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: An Afghan woman who fled to Pakistan after the Taliban takeover of her country won the right to stay in the country before travelling to Australia as a court quashed a case registered against her for entering the country without a visa.

Islamabad High Court judge Justice Babar Sattar said the Afghan woman, Raheel Azizi, had the right to seek asylum under the Constitution, and ordered the Interior Ministry to issue a no-objection certificate for her to fly to Australia, where she had been granted a visa.

Azizi had arrived in Pakistan, fearing for her life after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. She was booked by the Pakistani authorities and charged under the Foreigners Act for not having a valid visa.

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The court said that people seeking asylum could not be sent to jail and that a case could not be run against Azizi under such circumstances.

According to UNHCR data, Pakistan hosts about 2.1 million registered Afghan refugees, most of whom fled Afghanistan over the years since 1979.

Another 600,000 Afghans have arrived in Pakistan since August 2021, according to the government.

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