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Pakistan rules out extending Afghan refugees’ stay

Pakistan rules out extending Afghan refugees’ stay

Jan 17, 2018 - 09:37

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The government of Pakistan has ruled out another extension for registered refugees to stay in the country, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“There will be no extension after January 31 and they will have to go to their country,” Dawn quoted an unnamed official in the State and Frontier Region (Safron) Ministry as saying.

After the registered refugees lost their legal status on Dec 31, the federal cabinet extended their stay in the country for a month. But the refugees and the government in Kabul tend to reject the decision.

According to the report, the National Security Committee has decided against giving a one-year extension to Afghans. The year-long extension had been suggested by the Safron Ministry.

Saleem Khan, chief commissioner of refugees, said a return plan for the Afghans would be drawn up and placed before the federal cabinet for approval. The repatriation plan will be worked out after consultations among stakeholders.

More than 2.5 million Afghan nationals, including 1.4 million registered refugees, are said to be living in Pakistan. About 700,000 undocumented Afghans were registered during a six months campaign, which began in August.

Meanwhile, the refugees living in the Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Tuesday urged President Ashraf Ghani to make arrangements for their immediate return to their motherland.

Led by Musharrafullah, Shamasur Rehman, Zarif Khan and Gohati Camp president Mohammad Gul, the refugees acknowledged the prospects of their stay in Pakistan had dampened.

Set up soon after the occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, the two camps in Swabi house 48,500 refugees. Inmates complain half of Gandaf Camp has been without power supply for over a year.