ICC CWC: Why did Ibrahim Zadran dedicate his award to refugees in Pakistan?

After being named player of the match for his match-winning 87 against Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Afghan batsman Ibrahim Zadran dedicated his award to the Afghan refugees that Pakistan is sending back.

Chasing a target of 283, Zadran put on 130 runs for the opening wicket with Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65) to give Afghanistan an excellent foundation. Afghanistan created history by defeating Pakistan in ODIs for the first time. They had earlier defeated defending champions England by 69 runs.

Ibrahim Zadran expresses his solidarity with Afghan refugees

During the post-match presentation, Zadran expressed solidarity with the Afghan refugees deported from Pakistan. “I am very happy for myself and for my country. I would like to dedicate this man of the match award to those who are being sent back to Afghanistan from Pakistan,” Zadran said in the post-match presentation.

Why did Ibrahim Zadran dedicate his award to Afghan refugees?

Zadran’s comments come against the backdrop of Pakistan asking all undocumented Afghan refugees to leave the country by November 1. According to media reports, 3,248 Afghan refugees were deported from Pakistan to Afghanistan on October 21. More than 51,000 Afghans have been deported since the elections. A deadline was announced for the deportation of undocumented migrants. The government’s decision to restrict border crossings to only people with valid passports and visas will come into effect on November 1, after which no one will be allowed to cross the Pakistani border with a Pakistani identity card or an Afghan permit, according to media reports from Pakistan. About 1.73 million Afghans in Pakistan do not have legal papers.

Why has Pakistan announced a crackdown on Afghan refugees?

On October 3, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti announced a crackdown on “illegal” Afghans, asking them to leave the country by November. An increase in attacks along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has escalated diplomatic tensions between the two countries. It has also fueled antipathy in Pakistan. At the end of September, an explosion at the Madina Mosque in the town of Mastung, near the border with Afghanistan, killed at least 52 people during a religious celebration.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants have sought refuge in Pakistan for decades, especially after the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021. According to the United Nations, about 880,000 people have been granted legal status to remain in Pakistan, while about 1.3 million Afghans are registered as refugees. Bugti has claimed that another 1.7 million Afghan migrants are staying ‘illegally’ in the country. He said those people should leave either voluntarily or through forced deportation.

UN experts expressed concern about the risk of refoulement for Afghan nationals. They warned that many families, women and children would be at risk of irreversible damage. They also expressed concern in bon reports that Afghans living in Pakistan have been subjected to arrests and undignified treatment, including since Pakistan announced its repatriation plan.