‘The Children Have Been Brainwashed’: PHC Gathers Info on Smuggled Children

The Pakistan’s Peshawar High Court (PHC) learned details of the illegally-immigrated Afghan children who were brought into the country under the guise of obtaining religious education, the PakistanToday reported.

An Afghan refugee had brought ten children in from Afghanistan’s Taliban-controlled Badakhshan province, according to Abdul Hameed Jalili, Afghan consulate’s office-bearer. The applicant explained to the bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, that these children were his relatives and that they had come to be enrolled in a seminary for religious education. However, the man could not explain how the children had come into the country without documents.

“Children were brought here from Afghanistan and no one knows about this. What are the agencies doing?” Justice Seth asked. He told police to investigate how and why the children were brought to Pakistan without agencies being alerted.

During the hearing, a translator had to be brought in, as the children spoke neither Pashto nor Urdu. The translator reported that “it seemed as if the children have been brainwashed.
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They answer each question together.”

When the children were asked for their reasons to be in Pakistan, they all offered the same reply: to get a religious education.

The children were taken from the applicant, who had been keeping them in a refugee camp in the Akora Khattak town in Nowshera.

The bench placed the man under arrest and directed the authorities to give the custody of the children – who were all 10-years-old or younger – to the Afghan consulate.  It must be ensured that they are reunited with their parents, the bench added.

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