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When they first came to Pakistan, transgender Afghan refugees thought they were safe from the clutches of the Taliban. Now, amidst mass deportations of undocumented migrants, they can already feel the noose around their necks tightening every day.
Zainab and Rahima’s sole source of income are the carpets they and their family weave by hand. Not only did they face starvation due to the Taliban’s ban on women participating in trade, as Hazara Shias, they are also in the crosshairs of ISIS back in Afghanistan. If deported, Pakistan will have signed off on their death warrants.
It is important for the state to stop its crackdowns against Afghan refugees immediately and to revisit its decision to forcefully deport Afghans. It is equally important for Pakistan to sign the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol and to enact laws for the protection of refugees. Afghans deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and their fundamental rights need to be protected.