Afghan refugees oppose Pakistan’s repatriation deadline

PESHAWAR, Dec 22 (INP): The Afghan refugees are strongly worried about their forcible expulsion from Pakistan after the neighboring country issued a month long deadline to the refugees residing in its northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

The refugees asked the Afghan government to discuss the issue with Pakistan’s government and help them stay in the country.

“We don’t accept this deadline because it is impossible to us,” said Meyakhil, a refugee in Peshawar. “It is very hard for a person who lived here for a decade to collect all his stuff and shift his business within a month.”

The deadline by KPK provincial government came after the terrorists attacked an Army-run school in Peshawar killing at least 145 people, including 132 children. The horrific attack was claimed by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but Pakistan’s government claimed that the mastermind of Peshawar attack was in Afghanistan.

“The provincial cabinet has decided to expel all Afghan refugees within 30 days,” KPK government spokesman Mushtaq Ghani said. “Time has come for the federal government to take practical steps for the repatriation of the refugees.”

Ghani added the Afghan refugees must now return home because they were a major burden on Pakistan.

But the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman in Pakistan, Qaiser Afridi, said that based on the trilateral decision between Afghanistan, Pakistan and UN, the Afghan refugees are allowed to stay in Pakistan until the end of 2015.

According to UN statistics, nearly three million Afghan refugees are currently residing in Pakistan; of them, only about 1.5 million people are registered with Pakistan’s government.

INP/

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